Steadfast and Steady – Five Ways to Help Teams Navigate Rough Waters

by Kim Taylor
Leadership & Career

May 15, 2023

Read Time: 3 min


We are navigating some rough waters in business right now.  

Executives are working hard to clarify strategic priorities, restructure ways of working for a hybrid workplace, and balance the ebbs and flows of market demand, all while trying to rapidly understand how to best leverage the astounding technological advances that are underway and coming fast!   While there are endless opportunities for growth during times like these, making the necessary transitions can sometimes create a bumpy ride for team members across the organization.  

So how do you keep your organization on track and focused on outcomes?  Be steadfast in cultivating a top-down approach of calm confidence.   Share the vision, outline the plan, ground in your values and culture, and then hold steady as you navigate to calmer waters.  As you keep everyone rowing in the same direction, be mindful of what messages you are directly, and indirectly, sending to the team.  If there is too much noise, anxiety grows and people begin to panic and paddle in all directions.  Done long enough, you’ll find your team rowing in circles rather than towards the smooth, glassy waters you envision.

Let your people do what they do best and, day by day, they will bring about the tide change needed.

Quick tips to keep a steady state in your organization:

1.  Stay Centered – Verify you have put the right strategic policies in place and that you have the right leadership at the helm to address the challenges.  Once confirmed – stay centered and stay the course.

2. Trust Your Team – Set the vision and then be quiet; don’t keep sounding the alarm.  Let your people do what they do best and, day by day, they will bring about the tide change needed.

3. Play the Long Game – Put your collective focus on what needs to happen now and what needs to happen over the next 18 months to steady the ship.  Recognize it will take time to settle into a new course so be careful not to hyper-focus on the acute needs, causing the team to lose sight of the long-term actions that must be maintained for long-term health.

4. Be Patient – One way to think of this is… “nine women can’t make a baby in a month” so stop trying to do the equivalent of that in your organization.  As a leader, it’s critical to avoid the desire to “just make it all right” right now.  Pushing too hard, too fast is a sure way to erode culture and create burn-out in the crew.  Be patient.

5. Focus / Discipline / Consistency – This is one of the main tools I use myself and with my clients.  It is critical to stay focused (as an organization and each individual within it) on what can be done that has the most impact (quality over quantity); be disciplined in how you apply those efforts directly towards that focus; and then stay uber consistent, day in and day out, to allow time for those focused, disciplined, efforts to begin to pay dividends.  If you run your team in a scattershot manner, nothing you do will have time to get traction and make a difference.

Life, and business, is a non-stop series of events – some are exciting, some are challenging, some are confusing, some are chaotic… If you’ve been around the sun more than a few times, you already know this and you know you will get through it.  To successfully navigate the oceans, rivers, and streams of current business challenges, we must actively remember and apply that wisdom in our day-to-day leadership so as to steady the boat for everyone.

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