The financial crisis, which hogged the headlines globally in 2008, will continue to do so this year. While doom and gloom may well dominate the news over the next 12 months, all is not lost.
There is just as much chance that the next boom past 2010 will be greater than the last. This is the optimism that the world needs from transformational leadership.
As a transformational leader, what can you do to help your customers, organisation and stakeholders survive the stormy seas and land ashore safely?
1. Realise the implications
The first thing to understand about the financial crisis is that no one is safe from it, as the banking sector, which connects all sectors, is at the heart of the crisis. The effects of the global credit vacuum and subsequent financial tsunami that crashed asset prices have not fully rippled through the real global economy.
To curb the tide, central banks all over the world are desperately attempting to make cheap credit available. However, it seems like this is being used to shore up gaping holes in the financial system and is not fully serving its purpose of making credit readily available to catalyse economic growth.
2. Rationalise your course of action
While the thought of readjustment is certainly not pleasant, it is nevertheless a reality the transformational leader needs to face up to.
Restructuring is not a sign of weakness but a source of future strength. And this has to be done with the greatest prudence.
3. Renew your commitment
If you have to deleverage, do so and make your cost structures sustainable as soon as possible. Renew your commitment to find a better way to serve your customers. This will help you to gain a greater share of the market.
4. Relate to your customers
Get out there and engage your clients. Listen from the ground up to the challenges and difficulties they have with their customers.
In challenging times, a transformational leader does not just solve his clients problems, he has to solve their customers problems too.
5. Reinvent your value proposition
What was of value in good times may not be relevant in a down time. First, find out what matters most to your customers and ensure you are best equipped to provide it. Then, re-invent your value propositions to match the markets needs.
At the same time, try to provide additional benefits that are not expected but will be greatly appreciated. By doing so, in time, you will gain a disproportionately high share of the market.
6. Revitalise your entire organisation
Seek out the best strategic keynotes, training and development initiatives. To gain a competitive advantage in a downturn and reap returns, a transformational leader has to convert his human resources into human capital and human investment.
Start by taking a top-down approach. Invest in your most valuable assets first, and then move on to your most transitory ones.
7. Re-emerge as the winner
The ultimate purpose of being a transformational leader in stormy weather is to ensure your organisation comes out of the gloom in great shape.
To effectively play your role as a transformational leader, you need to be proactive and pre-empt the changes ahead.