How do you lead during a time of crisis? Especially if you’re an entrepreneur, already faced with such uncertain and unpredictable circumstances? In this special episode, EarthTech Founder, Ant Moorhouse speaks with Michael McGrath from Oasis M&A and unveils the critical components of effective crisis leadership including: whether or not to plan, the importance of transparency, managing your runway, how to stay on top of your mental health and the role of creativity.
Every crisis presents an opportunity…EarthTech is now more driven than ever to tackle global humanitarian challenges, especially those exacerbated in developing countries by COVID-19. Tune in for an episode you won’t forget.
The world we are living in has changed. Now more than ever, the need for efficient crisis management to navigate these uncertain times is paramount. On a recent conversation with EarthTech Founder, Ant Moorhouse and Michael McGrath from Oasis M&A, we were able to unveil the critical components of effective crisis leadership including: the importance of adaptability, transparency, managing your runway, planning, how to stay on top of your mental health and the role of creativity in order to deliver effective and necessary outcomes.
Every crisis presents an opportunity and in the case of the pandemic, a chance to rethink the way we are living our life and performing our day to day activities. Likewise, the simultaneous intensity and scale of various natural calamities such as the forest fires that occurred in Australia early 2020, global droughts, melting glaciers and the rising sea levels highlight that this is indeed the time for change. If we don’t act now, then reversing it will not only be challenging it will be impossible.
Ant Moorhouse has ten years experience in the Army and was the CEO of a crisis management company Dynamic. He knows how to deal with volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environments and the importance of adaptability. He believes having a business plan is important and the ability to adapt and overcome the failures is the key to success.
Michael McGrath described the scale of the current pandemic outside any historical event with unprecedented ramifications not only for poor communities but also small to large enterprises. He describes the likelihood of small companies shutting down whilst bigger industries having to lay off their workforce and reiterated the importance of leadership and adaptability in these uncertain times.
During their discussion they spoke about the importance of leaders stepping up and taking responsibility. Both Michael and Ant agreed that managing your runway including people as well as remaining focused on what the ‘North star” or the target of the business is, was the most important quality to achieve effective results.
Michael McGrath believes planning in situations like these should be elastic. In actual fact, planning, then replanning to evolve on a continuous basis is essential. Regardless of the profession your accuracy for decision making should follow the 80-20 rule, particularly in the times like these. The rule implies that 20% of your focus should be allocated to tasks or projects that generate 80% of revenue. Following such a rule will give you an opportunity to stay in the business and to keep your resources intact.
Ant Moorhouse discussed how important it is to keep transparency in the business not only during the time like these but also in general. Having transparency in your business helps you to maintain trust and evolve as a collective. Many a times the most creative idea comes from within the business and when ideas are shared and discussed collaboratively it creates a sense of pride and ownership. He talks about his experience at EarthTech which was recently selected by the WHO for its sustainable development goals project. His team started working on the project, but days later the US government restricted funding to WHO thus placing the EarthTech project on hold. Due to proper communication and transparency the news was shared easily, and the company and its team were able to adapt quickly and easily.
It’s also important not to lose the sight and focus during the crisis and to carry out the business as you usually do. Setting priorities and having a hierarchy is important just like in Maslow’s pyramid. These are few focuses that all the business should have in mind during times like these
Staying in business and feeding families.
Being useful and helpful to society.
Keeping sight of and maintaining a long-term business strategy.
Prioritising and giving to people before the business during hard times.
During his time with Dynamic, Ant Moorhouse learnt that it is important to have two main teams in the business. The first focuses on the business, taking care of the various projects to maintain revenue, the second deals with the crisis. Having a designated crisis management team ensures the crisis does not override the main objectives and core focus.
Ant Moorhouse and Michael McGrath also discussed the importance of speed during a crisis. They highlighted the importance of moving fast, doing more, and seizing opportunities as they unfold. Rather than doing less and waiting too long, it’s a time to act quickly.
An example of this was when Earth Tech launched a crowdfunding micro philanthropy platform where new and innovative ideas can get the kind of help they need. It was the worst possible time to launch the project in the midst of a pandemic outbreak as no one knew what would happen next. Yet it was worth trying.
Ant Moorhouse discussed how the internet has played an important role in his business and if there was a positive side of COVID-19, the online collaborations helped keep it going. Due to virtual meetings, his team has remained connected and there’s been a significant decrease in the carbon footprint due to less travelling. Businesses such as Uber eats which was a non-essential service before the pandemic has now become an essential service. Being connected through the internet allows people to innovate and bring about change.
Businesses the world over, now have an opportunity to rethink their strategies and bring about necessary changes. These changes could include increasing engagement and transparency with their employees, being more involved in customer service and supply chains, R&D as well as other sectors to maximize potential. Small and medium enterprises have an important role to play in the current pandemic because the role of their employees means change and may indeed have a significant impact on government policy and our future society.
The takeaway message from this discussion was the need to bring about change, particularly in the way we are living as well as the way we approach business as usual. It is the responsibility of everyone to restructure and prioritise the things that are important in order for the world to become a better place to live. Collectively we can create the change we want to see in the world.