7 New Challenges for Executives

Executive coaching for the development of new skills

The current situation that the planet is going through generates many doubts both on a personal and professional level. Human beings are in a situation where the game board was turned upside down. What should be done with the business? How long is this pandemic going to last? Do we have what it takes to deal with it? At Open Mind Advisor we consider it essential to identify the new challenges that executives face. Next, we tell you the ones we consider to be the most important.

It is evident, without a doubt, that we are going through a junction, which is interpreted as a crisis. But… What is a crisis? Is it a labyrinth with no way out? In psychology, it is a situation where our internal world conflicts with uncontrollable external circumstances. However, it is during these junctures that the possibility opens up to make valuable changes in our thinking, emotions and behaviors. They also encourage us to develop new skills and knowledge that enhance our performance and remain at our disposal for life.

1- The main new challenge for executives is to understand crises as a new awakening towards transformation, both for people and for organizations.

2- The second challenge is to create spaces for innovation and the development of new business strategies.

Let’s consider three ideas: 1) Psychology defines insanity as always doing the same thing and expecting different results. 2) From the evolutionary theory of Charles Darwin, the strongest species is the one that adapts faster to an ever-changing environment. And 3) When extraordinary results are required, it is not necessary to have superheroes, but rather to stop doing what is ordinarily always done. A healthy, strong and extraordinary organization has spaces for innovation where it harnesses the creativity of its leaders, collaborators and clients. No one knows the company and the resources it has to deal with any adversity better than them.

3- The third challenge is to develop and enhance emotional intelligence in leaders and their teams. Every change and transformation process generates a natural reaction charged with fear. Fear is an almost animal response to a threatening environment.

The problem comes when we make this instinct the main motivator that determines our behavior. From fear, every living being has only three options: freeze, fly or fight its environment. Can you imagine your work team having only these three possibilities? As leaders we must learn to recognize fear in teams and face it with empathy, recognition and trust; conveying to others that we understand the uncertainty they are going through, then acknowledging their multiple capabilities, and finally letting them know that we trust them and that they have our support throughout the process. Employees put their life and all their energy into moving a company forward when they feel supported and recognized by it, especially during difficult times.

4- The fourth challenge is to greatly strengthen listening, especially with clients. In the book Sell to the Mind, Not the People, Jürgen Clarik presents the importance of knowing how to identify the needs that our products satisfy in people’s minds. Some of those needs include security, recognition, freedom, pleasure, exploration, transcendence, and power.

How does the way of meeting these needs change with the pandemic? How to sell freedom when we must stay home? For everyone’s peace of mind, it is not necessary to be a fortune teller, but it is necessary to strengthen the ability to listen to customers. You need to spend the time and resources to find out exactly what your current needs are, and then assess whether your sales strategy is responding to these needs. It is understandable that if there have been cuts in earnings, you cannot invest a lot of money. So let’s not forget that, using our innate listening skills, we can validate that the strategies we employ are aligned with the new consumer demand.

5- The quarantine took us all by surprise, so the fifth challenge is to create new protocols that ensure the health of our employees. Being able to work remotely has become an urgent need for everyone. However, it is important to ask certain questions before implementing this methodology, such as: What is the number of hours that the people are going to be connected? What time should they be connected and what time do they rest? Do they have the necessary work and protection tools to carry out their work efficiently and safely? Every tool requires certain security measures that guarantee the well-being of the worker and the organization, the same happens with teleworking. At this time when staffing is essential, preventing future medical disabilities is vital.

6- The sixth challenge is knowing how to take advantage of the great potential that the new generations bring to the organization. For young people, communicating, relating, working and developing virtuality is nothing to write home about. Here, leaders have the opportunity to nourish themselves with that innate wisdom that those who grew up with cell phones in their hands have. As a leader it is not necessary to know everything, but to ask the questions to those team members who already know the answers from their life experience. Young people can also save a lot of hassle by training staff who don’t know how to navigate the digital age. In short, people born from 1980 onwards have been practicing all their lives for when teleworking went from being a luxury to a necessity, having them in your company means having professionals who are experts in the easy handling of the virtual world.

7- The seventh and final challenge is the seventh habit named by Stephen Covey in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. If we are going to compete for who cuts a tree first, the most important thing is to check how “sharp our ax is”. In the world of work, the “edge of the ax” translates into how developed our knowledge and skills, necessary to meet the company’s objectives, are. For leaders, it becomes a necessity to know how to identify and enhance the talents that they themselves and their employees have. Coaching and consulting are excellent tools, which accompany organizations in activating the natural talent of people to guarantee the desired results. Perhaps it is not possible to have more personnel, but it is possible to guarantee that the one available is giving one hundred percent of their capabilities.

These are the seven new challenges that we consider most important for executives. However, we know that there are many more and we would be more than pleased to hear from you on our networks and in the email david.mejia@oma.com.co.

And you? What are your new challenges as an executive?


David Mejía

Psychological Coaching Consultant.