16 April 2016

Leadership in Crisis: Building Trust with Continuous Training...

How often have you ever heard the leadership management philosophy that you must "Train Like You Fight"?  Here is another way to look at it:
The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.
Norman Schwarzkopf
The theme is all too familiar with Operational Risk Management (ORM) teams that operate on the front lines of asymmetric threats, internal corruption, natural disasters and continuous adversaries in achieving a "Defensible Standard of Care."

As the senior leader in your unit, department or subsidiary the responsibility remains high for preparedness, readiness and contingency planning.  Your personnel and company assets are at stake and so what have you done this month or quarter to train, sweat and prepare?  How much of your annual budget do you devote to the improvement of key skills for your people in a moment of crisis or chaos?

What will the crisis environment look like?  Will it develop with clouds, water and wind or the significant shift in tectonic plates?  Will it begin with the insider employee copying the most sensitive merger and acquisition strategy to sell to the highest bidder?  Will it start with a single IT server displaying a warning to pay a ransom or lose all possibility of retrieving it's data and operational capacity to serve your business?  Will it end up being another example of domestic terrorism or workplace violence like San Bernadino, Paris or Ft. Hood?

Leaders across our globe understand the waves of risk and the possible issues that they may encounter each year.  Many travel to Davos to the World Economic Forum where the world tackles these disruptive events, with the best minds and exchange of information.  Why?  They understand that vulnerability is what they fear the most.

Yet what can you do in your own community, at your own branch office to address the Operational Risks you face?  How can you wake up each day with the confidence as a leader, that you have trained and prepared for the future events that will surprise you?  It begins with leadership and a will to lead your team into the places no one really likes to talk about.  The scenarios that people fear to train for, because they think they will never happen.

Achieving any level of trust with your employees, your customers and your supply chain revolves around your leadership.  The discipline of "Operational Risk Management" is focused on looking at all of the interdependent pieces of your business mosaic.  The environment you operate in, even the building that houses your most precious assets.  All of these factors are considered in developing and executing your specific plan for training and readiness.

So what?  The question is "Why Don't Employees Trust Their Bosses"?
Why this lack of trust?

There is a disparity, the survey revealed, between areas that employees said were important for trust, and the performance of company leaders in these areas.

For example, half of respondents said it was important for the CEO to be ethical, take responsible actions in the wake of a crisis and behave in a transparent way. However, a much lower number of respondents actually felt their CEO was exhibiting these qualities.

This disparity is in part responsible for trust decreasing as you move down an organization’s hierarchy. So, while two-thirds of executives trust the company, less than half of rank-and-file employees do. Equally, peers were rated as much more credible than CEOs.
As a leader your roles are multi-faceted and there is never enough time or money in the budget.  The leaders who excel in the next decade, will find a way.  They will invest in their teams training and the systems to increase trust, by addressing Operational Risk Management (ORM) as a key component of the interdependent enterprise.

The "TrustDecisions" you require and the understanding developed to insure effective "Trust Decisions" by all of your stakeholders will remain your most lofty goal as a leader.  How you train to fight and how you sweat now will make all the difference in your next war.  From the boardroom to the battlefield your leadership is all that is needed.  Your leadership will make a difference.

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