Leadership is Calling Episode #37
Barbara Schindler & Heather McGonigal

Uncertainty: An Opportunity for Teamwork and Leadership


 Barbara and Heather discuss how businesses can navigate uncertainty and change in today’s shifting landscape. They emphasize leveraging your team as the most valuable resource, continually assessing your business, and driving change strategically through innovation and collaboration. The goal is staying nimble, understanding your clients, and pivoting based on real-time market results.

This video is for anyone who wants to learn more about how to lead their team through uncertain times. Whether you’re a new leader or a seasoned veteran, Barbara and Heather’s insights will help you guide your team to success with adaptive leadership.

Key Points
  • Assessing your business in the moment to understand what’s working and what’s not
  • Leveraging your team as the most valuable resource
  • Driving change through innovation and collaborative thinking
  • Staying nimble and adaptive in times of uncertainty
  • Understanding your clients’ pulse and market results to inform decisions
Related Resources

Leadership Skills: Compassionate Leadership
Leadership Development Articles: Business Is Complex—Listen For Nuances To Improve Your Leadership Reputation  |  Mindfulness and Moving Through Change
Downloadable Leadership Tool: The Key Basics of Agreements

Meter of Certainty - Leading Edge Teams

Auto-Generated Transcript – unedited version

Uncertainty: An Opportunity for Teamwork and LeadershipHi, Barbara.


Hi Heather, how are you doing? Little bit of a fall winter transition. I can see in the background there in Vermont.

Yes. The trees are bare, and we actually had snowflakes fluttering today.

So the seasons are changing, right? And change is the theme. Yes. So I didn’t you know, that’s perfect right now in business. And I know that we don’t love this word necessarily, Barbara, because it’s kind of overused at this point. After surviving COVID and all the pivot pivot pivots, talking about uncertainty maybe doesn’t feel as alive and helpful when we’re working with clients these days. But the truth is, people also have a lot of things in business right now that when they look at the old playbook, all they know is that it doesn’t work, but they don’t have certainty about what’s the next thing that’s going to work, right?

So can you share with me a little bit about how you think this applies in teamwork and leadership and what you’ve been supporting clients with?

Yeah. You know, it comes to mind when I’m listening to you because. Because that word uncertainty had a lot of impact and power, and it started like, man, we don’t know. This is so uncertain. And it, you know, we’ve grown, grown to a customer generalized with that most likely. And yeah, well what comes to mind is let’s see how this is evolving. And I think that’s really relevant for business today more than ever.

You know, when people are talking about, hey, how we did it isn’t working, whether they’re talking marketing or delivery or or just the way they approach how they get outcomes as a team. Right. Things aren’t working the same. And, you know, it’s not always been totally workable in the sense, you know, change has always been happening. But there’s definitely a good way to approach this, let’s say it this way is to start looking, you know, more uniquely at your own business. It’s more important than ever how we are doing now. How’s the business, how are we aligned? Is there anything else we should be changing about where we’re going, what we’re targeting?

Right. The strategic goals, in a sense. And and how is the team doing and the part of the allowing is much more you know, it’s like we need to do this work step by step or we’re working with a lot of teams right now that are going to some kind of restructure from major leadership structures, department structures to individual structures, really helping people like how are you pacing your day? You know, how do you focus a lot on, you know, how are you managing what’s happening in self-care so that you can pace your day and prioritize with the best thinking, all of those pieces, right?

So kind of coming back to the picture I’m painting about allowing is what can we do now in planning while staying nimble and adaptive for what we learn each step of the way. So uncertainty comes more into maybe this is more fun for business discovery and allowing the the work we do or the insights we get through the opportunities in the moment to keep informing the step by step to to keep targeting where we we hope to be achieving that make sense? Yes. And more than ever, the information is in your team in your business. I think that’s the key that I’m seeing really relevant to the current times, everything you’ve shared.

Absolutely. And then, you know, a lot of times there’d be a little bit more of the trends of the industry and things like that. That’s still important. Pay attention. Right? But the best information, you know, is where the action is. I’ve always said that, but the more the team has the pulse of your particular clients, your particular products, your particular marketing that you’re doing now and getting results. And what are those results? We need the expectations, but we need to be nimble enough to keep getting informed. That’s the allowing part to keep getting informed for the next step. And that means a lot more collaborative thinking together. And I think that’s why, Barbara, that we also say in these business times that seem more challenging, more unclear, you know, your team is your most valuable resource because as you said, they do have the pulse. They have the pulse on what your clients are liking, not liking asking questions about themes emerging that they see what resonates in marketing. All of this stuff is super valuable iteration, and when you look outside the company, you could get some broader strategies that are out there. But if you don’t slow down and bring it inside with your team and really say, How does this work for us? What’s going on with our clients, then you could mistakenly go after a shiny thing that actually isn’t what your business needs. And and we say in these times, companies that are already in business at the start of what people are experiencing, a lot of people as an economic downturn, the fact that you’re in business already gives you a competitive advantage because you have the people on the team and you have the customers and you have that ability to you have their pulse, as you said. So you have the ability to go find the places. You’re like, where’s the data from that? Because that’s best going to inform the pivots and like how we should switch our plans within the organization to keep getting the Yeah, absolutely. as the most valuable resource.

Well, you know, one thing that comes to mind that’s been coming up in a lot of our client work right now is assessment taking an approach of assessment. And maybe that’s the ad you know, he’s the strategy for team dialog and team actions. It’s like let’s assess what just happened? What did it teach us? But you know continuously as of now since there are unfortunately some layoffs, there are definitely some restructures going on. There’s definitely, you know, how we adapt our plans to the current results we’re getting due to the external environment of economics and industry downturns and things like that. There’s just a lot out there that influences what is within your own company. And to take a step of assessment and develop your team to take that a moment. You know, it’s a little bit of an inventory like how are we doing now? What are we seeing now before we move into too much assumption, we’ve got an idea of what to do differently or what’s working or not. Like it’s that back up. And some of that is as we teach, you know, be clear on the outcomes you’re going for. They can be changed if needed based on the results you’re getting. But that assessment is, as you were saying, how they’re but it’s assessing as part of our process of collaborative thinking. I think that’s the key. That could be a skill set to develop more and more. So yeah, I wanted to ask you and I think that you absolutely.

Well, absolutely. And yeah, change that comes in, you know, But the change that we’re also what we want to be able to be proactively working. We want to drive change. And I think that’s part of this assessment and awareness and, and a next level of collaborative thinking together because we do want to get ahead of that curve, right? To be so well informed that we can start driving change instead of, you know, we don’t want to react to change, but response change is good, right? And we’re doing that all the time. But the key that’s going to leverage your business and team today for those outcomes in these times that you’re moving more step by step in these current times is is that ability to have that innovation built into this and what else are we seeing? And if you can, can you build another level of thinking together for that reason?

Yeah. Yeah. That’s how you drive change.

Exactly right. That’s driving change. And that’s why it might seem like a nuance, but that’s a game changer. And what’s really called for current times, it’s absolutely what will put you ahead.


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