Building Trust When Faced with Ambiguity

Navigating ambiguity is a primary concern for any leader. When the world is changing around us at an unprecedented rate, even the best leaders may struggle to set priorities, communicate clearly, and drive the vision. Nothing splinters clarity like the urgency of our recent global pandemic, and when ambiguity goes unchecked for many months, trust in leadership will crater. In this uncertain climate, it has never been more important for businesses to build trust.  Without a clear plan, employees get confused, lose productivity, and feel less committed to the company and to their morals. In the absence of clear expectations, trust between leaders and team members inevitably breaks down. Leadership teams that don’t achieve alignment may end up executing entirely disconnected visions. This leads to more ambiguity, loss of trust, and a never-ending downward spiral. Trust is the antidote to uncertainty. An explicit focus on building trust is the only way to successfully lead through ambiguity. Here are four ways to tackle ambiguity by actively building trust: Share “the Why”  So often on a demanding project, communication is the first thing on the chopping block, sacrificed to the demands of speed and deadlines. Urgency serves as justification for not taking time to communicate critical information. One of the first to go tends to be “the why.” In other words, why are you making one choice over another? Why are you taking one person off of the project and leaving the team to pick up slack, for example? When people don’t understand the rationale behind their leader’s actions, trust goes out the window.  In the absence of a clear explanation, people will always gravitate toward the most negative possible interpretation. Not only will trust go down, [...]

Have you planned for the unexpected?

When it comes to succession planning, many agency owners think about the eventual closing or sale of their agency. Truth be told, most of you are not really prepping for that day as early or in as detailed a way as you should. You greatly reduce your options when you don’t have a long-range succession plan in place. But sometimes, there is no long-range scenario. Most agency owners have no plan in place for a sudden change — the proverbial hit by the bus scenario. I know it’s not pleasant to think about, but you owe it to your family, your employees, and your clients to have a plan in place. If something unexpected happens to you — your family and team are not going to be in a mental or emotional place to make good decisions. They will be rightfully dealing with the loss. Do not add to their burden by leaving things up in the air. I recorded a video on this topic (I am adding new videos every week on LinkedIn — are we connected there?) that I want to make sure you watch. I know the topic is morbid — but you owe it to those you love, work with, and work for to have a contingency plan in place. I know you get a lot of information coming to you — but please don’t ignore this topic just because you don’t want to think about it. This is far too big a burden to pass onto those you love. Working out the details is going to take you the better part of a year, so set a goal of having this handled by the end of 2021. Do it for [...]

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