Building Trust Into COVID-19 Recovery: Resilient Leadership
As a part of our “Building Trust Into COVID-19 Recovery” series, on June 4, 2020, Christine Ing (McCarthy Tétrault, Partner and Co-Leader of Technology Law Group and FinTech Group) sat down with Jennifer Lee (Deloitte, Canadian Managing Partner – Growth Platforms) to discuss embedding trust in our organizations as a means to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic successfully. As a part of the discussion, Jennifer shared some key insights on the rebuilding and embedding trust, and its criticality in the success of an organization’s COVID-19 recovery. More importantly, in order to rebuild trust, resilient leaders of organizations must view the recovery as a journey, which includes the following steps:
- Mindset Shifts: At the onset of the pandemic, most organizations took a reactionary response, which introduced uncertainty into and placed strain on the mindsets of its stakeholders. In order to alleviate some of the uncertainty and strain on mindsets, as a part of their recovery efforts, resilient leaders should instead focus on next steps, and show that their organizations have taken steps to thoughtfully plan how it will safely reemerge from the pandemic, including by shifting from crisis management to program management, contingency planning to scenario planning and from a reactionary attitude to a reinvention attitude.
- Reinvention: Resilient leaders understand that the only certainty during the pandemic is uncertainty. Organizations can leverage the uncertainty as an opportunity to innovate as a part of its recovery efforts, including by encouraging internal stakeholders to participate in the reinvention of the organization. For example, organizations may benefit from shifting the employer/employee relationship (including organizational hierarchies or how employees are evaluated) or from resetting the expectations for the physical, emotional, financial and digital safety of their stakeholders (including implementing physical controls to ensure safe distancing or measures to assist those experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19).
- Embedding Trust: By shifting mindsets and using uncertainty for innovation, organizations will be able to rebuild and embed trust in its stakeholders, which is foundational for an organization’s success during and following its recovery from the pandemic. As an example, some studies have shown that perceived consumer safety for going to the store, staying in a hotel and taking a flight remain low, but are improving as consumer mindset’s readjust to the new normal and as new safety measures have been put in place as a part of a retailer’s reinvention, particularly in jurisdictions where new cases of COVID-19 are on the decline. The example suggests that consumer trust has grown as retailers and institutions have implemented innovative measures to improve safety and to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
- Recovery Playbooks: Organizations should consider developing playbooks that aim to shift mindset, leverage reinvention, and embed trust in both internal and external stakeholders If an organization decides to share its playbook, either internally or publicly, the playbook could also be seen as an example of what steps the organization has taken to shift its organizational mindset from reactionary to recovery in order to achieve its desired outcomes.