Building Leadership In Difficult Times
Worth nearly $100 billion globally, the fitness industry has been a pretty stable playing field for the already established brands. Then came the pandemic. A full scale shake up was underway for every company in this industry regardless of your size, and it was going to change everything. I’d like to share some of the leadership strategies I leveraged during the pandemic and how other leaders can incorporate them.
The sudden disruption in our world pushed company leaders to think more creatively and revamp decades-old business models. As talks of the virus were spreading throughout the U.K. and talks about restrictions taking place in other countries began, demand for fitness equipment grew, but the rate of growth it grew at couldn’t have been predicted by any expert.
As managing director of my own fitness equipment retailer, I remember seeing the sales start to increase day by day and thinking, “Okay, we can cover this kind of demand.” But as the weeks rolled by, more and more people slowly started working from home, schooling from home and exercising from home, and as a result of this, the demand for our products skyrocketed.
Follow your instinct.
The phone calls started to increase, the online sales were increasing, and the rate of enquiries was overwhelming. As the days slowed down, I would sit and ask myself, “How do I meet this kind of demand whilst keeping our reputation intact?” And the first thing I did within weeks of Covid being announced was order as much stock as I could get my hands on. If your company is in a similar position, this move could help you ensure your place in a fast-paced market.
The second move was to expand my entire operation from a small unit-size warehouse to taking over self-storage centers throughout the whole of the country. It is not always advisable to buy, as it can take too long and can sometimes make you less adaptable. However, this strategy is not straightforward; you’ll have to deal with the logistics of each site, and this takes me on to my third move.
The third and most important part of the plan was to completely revamp my team. It was a really tricky task, as fewer face-to-face meetings meant that I had to rely a little on a proven track record and a lot of my gut instinct. But I have always lived by the motto “It’s not me, it’s we,” and knew that selling large amounts of fitness equipment was not going to be hard, but coming out the other side with an even better reputation would be and the only way of ensuring this was to hire the best people. Those not only passionate about fitness and the products but also about helping people, especially throughout such testing times.
Swim against the current.
Consider turning your focus inward and prioritizing creating a strong team in every department. I formed an excellent team—from admin and IT to sales and marketing. At a time when many companies were taking the constant influx of orders, not picking up the phones or focusing on increasing their wealth, I made sure to do the exact opposite. I put a lot of resources and money into hiring a team that would answer every call that came in, help customers feel comfortable about their delivery and installation and ensure the absolute highest level of service was being offered, and it paid off.
Leadership, to me, is a skill of influence. I think where people get it wrong and struggle to achieve the results they want is because they see leadership as a position rather than a tool they can use. I really believe anyone can be a leader in something they choose to be masterful in. To do this, focus on what you can make a difference in and less on what you can’t.
In times of uncertainty, feed your mind by reading a book on leadership or listening to something with great ideas in your industry. Additionally, avoid focusing solely on the news. Times may be tough, but sometimes it is inevitable. Take back your control and remember that success leaves clues. Feed your mind with something that will improve the quality of your business and your life.
Get that momentum and keep it going. Form a daily routine. If you see that you’re making progress, you’re going to feel happy, and your business will perform in line with your energy; don’t just let your learning lead to knowledge but instead to massive action. Make it your mission also to give more than you expect to receive.
In harsh times, make sure you focus on providing people with your time and ensuring customers feel confident enough to give you their money over a competitor. Make sure to deliver on your promises to both customers and employees alike.
Across the board, the sooner companies understand that their success is a direct link to a happy, safe and productive workforce, the better off they will be. And remember that it’s not a “me” but a “we” dynamic that can work wonders.
Article link – https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2023/03/08/building-leadership-in-difficult-times/?sh=31973e2eac20