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Posted by Olga Loffredi | August 6, 2020 9:43:11 AM EDT


The CEO, the pandemic and what comes after

Until now, prediction and planning have been the most common ways to lead and manage companies. This strategy has been exposed as an illusion of control, as the variables in the future and the surrounding conditions we will need to deal with are uncertain and unpredictable. So now, what becomes of strategy and planning after the pandemic is over?

All over the world, CEO's are asking themselves and others: What are the learnings from this period and what is next? The most probable lesson learned by those leading into the next era is that they will need to master living with the unpredictability that came with COVID-19 and its various correlated crises. This impact has made us confront something we have always tried to cover up or minimize - uncertainty.

Maybe, the power that CEO's now have is in embracing challenges, vulnerability and the beauty of discovering the uncertainties that surround us. And also in replacing the fear of what is unknown with a project that creates a new future. With uncertainty comes the opportunity to create a new vision for a desirable future and to make new and correlated choices.

Another opportunity that opens up is to reconnect the team in the co-creation of the desirable future as a fully articulated team project. The co-creation process does not eliminate uncertainty - it strengthens the leaders and the teams to deal with it now and into the future.  

In the co-creation of an aligned on desirable future, being transparent and authentic is essential. The biggest contribution of a leader right now is not to have an answer for everything, but to know how to navigate uncertainty. CEO is a title, and it is important to remind ourselves that what makes a CEO a leader is being someone who transcends the title. Being a leader is being an ordinary person with an extraordinary commitment to an unprecedented future. The various consequences of the pandemic are the perfect context for authentic leadership to emerge – leaders who articulate new futures, point in their direction, discover new pathways, and bring together individuals and teams to transform vision into reality.

It is also imperative to realize that hoping that everything we are now going through is temporary and that we will someday get back to normal makes no sense whatsoever. The possibility of going back to the past has never existed, and it never will! Facing the uncertainty is both an individual and collective choice. Together, we can expand on what we have learned and deal with the great unknown. 

If CEO's embrace the current circumstances as “what’s so” as they deal with the creation of a desirable future, then everything we are going through now can be the foundation for innovation while conquering what is unprecedented, unpredictable and seemingly impossible.

Lastly, it is already right before our eyes: we cannot wait for the arrival of another pandemic to make changes. It took a global health crisis with unprecedented economic and human tolls to break paradigms and have us deal in new ways with problems that we knew had been there for a long time. Waiting for another dramatic event is not an option and leaves us at the effect of the circumstances.

We do not have to wait for hard times or tragedies to create new futures and start new journeys. Declaring breakdowns is the most powerful way to break paradigms, bring forth transformation and generate breakthroughs.


Author: Olga Loffredi, PhD - CEO of Vanto Group


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Vanto Group is a global consulting firm distinguished by the extraordinary track record of our clients. We partner with clients from the private, public and non-profit sectors to address their most critical challenges and transform their organizations.

Our customized and proprietary approach combines deep insight into the dynamics of high performance with close collaboration at all levels of the client organization. We embed the desired and necessary behaviors, processes and practices with our clients’ organizations, enabling them to achieve unprecedented levels of results with coordinated action, commitment and velocity. These new levels of performance and competitive advantage are both unprecedented and sustainable. Founded in 1992, Vanto Group is a private company with 16 offices in 9 countries.

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