A Moment With Mitul: Making Difficult Decisions
Editor’s note: Our CEO Mitul Lakhani has been sharing some of his thoughts about the business of running a business on his LinkedIn profile. These have proven to be rather popular, and we’ve decided that they should be shared with all of you on the Learning Centre as well. This article marks the start of a new series title “A Moment With Mitul”. We hope you like it.
Over the past few weeks, leaders and leadership teams have been forced into making and communicating difficult decisions to the rest of their employees to navigate through these unprecedented and uncertain times. Just like most businesses, iMoney is not spared from this as well.
As such, here are some of our learnings from this experience which I hope you will find helpful.
Set and align on core objectives and principles
This essentially underpins the framework for every decision that you are considering making to ensure objectivity, priority and more importantly consensus amongst the leadership team. These will vary depending on your circumstances, how much you’ve been impacted by COVID-19, how big your organisation is, etc., but our Antivirus Plan had three core principles at the heart of it:
- the safety and well-being of our staff and ensuring that, as much as possible, all our staff would continue to retain their jobs through this crisis
- conserve cash, be frugal in our costs, increase liquidity and extend the runway
- make sure we can move fast, as and when things start improving to capitalise on the opportunities
Focus on what you can control and don’t overthink the problem
One of the biggest challenges with COVID-19 is not having any visibility on when this is all going to end. This makes it even more difficult to make decisions due to our inability to predict and foresee how things will be like in 3 months, 6 months, 12 months or even longer than that. This can often result in overthinking the situation and paralysis by analysis as you try and think of and model out each and every outcome.
We have taken the approach of simply focusing on what we can control, taking each week as it comes and making decisions accordingly. This has helped us to (i) make and execute decisions faster; (ii) move on faster and (iii) continue to monitor the situation and make decisions as we move forward. This probably goes against what all leaders are expected to do around long-term planning, but I have personally found that at times like this, focusing on the here and now, helps me become less anxious and more confident in making the necessary decisions.
Explore all options
Whilst this may sound obvious, listing down all the options available together with their pros and cons really helps with the filtering process and the communication with the rest of the organisation. We also started putting together a list of pre-empted FAQs that the rest of the team may ask.
Communicate clearly with transparency and honesty
Providing a clear context, setting out what the decision is and providing detailed and transparent reasons for the decision is fundamental to help everyone understand the basis for the decision. At times like this, being open, empathetic, detailed and transparent help to support the rationale for the decision being made. As such, it’s important to address the following:
- What is going on?
- How is it impacting the business?
- What does the business need to do to mitigate the impact?
- How and when will this be executed/implemented?
- Show confidence that things will recover in time and the business will come out of this stronger
I hope the above helps those of you who are going through the process of having to make difficult decisions.