The timeworn business adage, “Persist, pivot, and persevere,” has never been more relevant for companies that find themselves on the cusp of a post-COVID world. The dust is finally beginning to settle, yet there remains no question that recovering from the impacts of an unprecedented pandemic will require unprecedented levels of leadership.

At Pivot International, we understand the nature of today’s challenges because we’ve been helping leaders navigate disruption for nearly 50 years. As the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe, we were among the first international tooling, procurement, and manufacturing firms to assemble a rapid-response team and provide focused solutions to our partners and prospects. We’ve extended options that include alternative manufacturing facilities, repurposed production, reconfigured supply networks, and much more. With decades of product development experience, seven locations worldwide, and 200,000 square feet of manufacturing capability across three continents, we’ve become an industry leader for helping companies weather the recent crisis and effectively prepare for a new future.

Whether leaders at the cusp of a post-COVID world devolve into the kind of blind reactivity that precludes ongoing adaptation or rise to the challenge by reinventing the rules of the game depends largely on three core competencies. These competencies relate to the level of personal accountability leaders are willing to assume, their will to forge collaborative partnerships, and their appetite for innovation.

The Willingness to Assume Personal Accountability

Any leader worthy of the title knows that “the buck stops here.” The challenges of disruption heighten the temptation to levy blame rather than setting a constructive, even inspiring, tone. The key is for leaders to acknowledge factors beyond their control without letting themselves off the hook for devising creative solutions. In the best-case scenario, a leader will make ample room for addressing the hard realities of disruption, including whatever difficult personal feelings are sure to arise, while also demonstrating the personal accountability that must be expected from everyone in the organization.

Regardless of whether solutions are yet in sight, a leader must unfailingly exemplify the core values and ethos of their organization. They must clearly articulate the organization’s guiding purpose, recasting it in the context of current challenges. They must also put a premium on asking difficult, challenging questions without fear of reprisal, and be the first to admit when they don’t know yet know the answer or way forward. Last, leaders must openly empathize with those impacted by crisis, including those within and beyond their organization. They must recognize acts of heroism and put the wellbeing of their people and customers ahead of profit considerations.

The Ability to Forge Collaborative Partnerships

The most effective and inspiring leaders know that any challenge worth undertaking requires strategic collaboration and the spirit of partnership. And in navigating any complex crisis and its aftermath, the need for “collective intelligence” and industry brain trust takes on increased importance. Disruption, as the name implies, entails a breakdown in “business as usual.” Breakdowns of this order mean that existing processes, protocols, structures, operations, and more have to be rethought and refashioned. This requires highly concerted inter-action: across teams, between partners, and ideally, within the industry. Leaders don’t need to have a complete understanding of the problems that collaboration is intended to solve or how partnerships might play out — this is neither possible nor desirable. But they do need the vision and will to facilitate levels of collaboration that can generate the answers to these questions.

The Appetite for Innovation

Disruption, by definition, is a state of affairs in which a company’s past strategies for success are no longer effective, and entirely new approaches must be innovated. Leaders who can grasp global leadership consultant Marshall Goldsmith’s maxim, “What got you here, won’t get you there,” will be far less vulnerable to trying to recover old ways of doing things at the expense of innovation.

Openness to innovation begins with the recognition that effective solutions do not yet exist. Leaders with the benefit of this insight will not waste their time waiting for a governmental body, industry agent, or another company to solve the problem. Instead, they assume personal responsibility, roll up their sleeves, and draw on the collective intelligence of strategic partnerships. These remarkable leaders dive headfirst into the messy business of actively experimenting with new approaches to collaboratively find answers, drive innovation, deliver solutions, and usher in a new future.

If you’re looking for a collaborative partner to help your company surmount supply chain disruption, seize emerging opportunities, and bring an innovative product to market, we deliver proven experience, resources, and results. We are Essential and Critical Suppliers with IEC (60601-1) and ISO certifications, FDA registration, UL listing, and CSA approval. Contact us today for a free consultation. We’re here to help.