In terms of change leadership we’ve been watching our clients cope with some rapidly shifting sands over this past eight weeks. Supply chain disruptions, travel bans, factories with social distancing, temperature checks, and other new levels of safety and preparedness.

What are the best practices for leading change, particularly during uncertain times?

1.) Acknowledge the real and focus on the future

2.) Build relationships and community

3.) View challenges as opportunities

4.) Practice physical and mental discipline

What does that mean in action? In this blog post we’re going to focus on Acknowledge the Real and Focus on the Future. 

First things first, we all know that communication is of critical importance during times of uncertainty and change. Here’s a great example of a leadership communication in a challenging moment, geared toward acknowledging the real and focusing on the future.

In 1933, U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was confronted with intense challenges. At the time of his inauguration, the country was in chaos, near the very bottom of the Depression. One quarter of the population could not find work. Bread lines and desperation took over the nation.

“This is pre-eminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper.  So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” 

Roosevelt, ever the expert in what we’d now call “Executive Presence” was a powerful figure of hope for his people, not because he told them it would all be ok, because he balanced the message of crisis with a message of personal responsibility and hope.