A Message to CEOs in Canada and the US

The speaker of Vistage, Corinne Hancock, found encouraging words for how to face the current crisis, and I will elaborate on her ideas in this post, including her 5 tips for CEOs and Managers.

When it comes to a crisis – whether it’s the Dow dropping by 1,000 points, a work stoppage decimating your supply chain, 60% of your contracts being paused for the next two month, 40% of your cashflow disappearing over a week, or all of them together – the only way to handle the situation is to embrace the chaos.

For Hancock, chaos is what happens when reality suddenly and strongly differs from expectations. Changing your outlook gives you a starting point to work from. Suddenly, you’re not a victim of the situation, but in a place to take action. While those disruptions can be an inconvenience or even threat to your business, they can be the cause for innovation and greater success in the future. And while you will never be chaos-proof, simply accepting the chaos and acting on it will make you chaos-ready.

The founder of The Curiosity Project (an organization that provides health and entrepreneurial opportunities in countries with limited resources), Hancock puts it like this: “There are certain things within our organizations and as CEOs that we can do to prepare for the chaos.” Based on her “Chaos Model,” she suggests five priorities for CEOs and business owners in times of crisis.

1. Define Your Best Strategy

Hancock puts strong emphasis on short-term action. Together with your team, develop a plan that gets your business over the next days and weeks. Long-term goals are in the backseat right now – there won't be a long term if you don't survive the short term! 

2. Stay on Track and Reassess

Execs will need to focus on accomplishing those goals: what are the effects of the crisis on your business, what resources do your work with, how do you get to your goals? 

Nota bene: resist the panic. This is not the time for wild speculations and hysteria.

3. Dare to Think Differently

Diamonds get formed under pressure, and that is also true for business innovation. To put it more optimistically: the external motivation from the crisis can bring on a veritable fountain of innovative ideas and experiments you wouldn't have taken on otherwise. 

Execs, focus on what's important in the moment and be confident in using the word "No" for low priority projects.

4. Alignment over Agreement

Whatever your solution is, not all team members will be satisfied with it. Accept that as a fact – these are challenging times for everyone. Instead of getting a 100% vote, seek alignment with the strategies you've developed for this specific situation.

5. Be Pro-Active

Nike said it best: Just do it. In a situation like this, adaptable and pro-active leadership will take the win over passive sulking in nostalgic dreams last year when the world was 'still OK.' 

Be courageous. Be active. Be confident – even if you have no way of telling what will come next. Then, and only then, your organisation and your team will ascend to a new level.

Here's How We're Helping

At Flawless Inbound, as part of our own pro-active strategy, we want to support B2B organisations in the US and Canada with our experience and change management know-how.

We have launched a War Room "Crisis Team" that will be on stand-by to assist you with any questions. It is geared towards CEOs, Sales & Marketing Leaders wanting to figure out a strategy to get their business through the CoVid outbreak.


Here are some of the changes we are implementing:

A) We will provide a separate CoVid section on our website with relevant information, innovative sales and marketing ideas, management strategies, and tactics geared towards B2B organisations and their leadership teams.

B) We will be hosting webinars dedicated to Change Management and Leadership during times of crisis.

1)  A framework to help your company weather the storm and mitigate revenue impact.

2)  The 4 pillars of Go To Market transformation: our Team has put together an action plan – complete with detailed steps and timelines to help you lead your business to a new normal.

3)  7 Step Go Forward Plan: a strategy to help your organisation adopt the new norm and help you mitigate revenue impact.


On a more personal note, here is what I am learning myself as I am leading through a crisis:

I must wake up and rise above the noise. 

Remember, your sales team needs to deal with a new norm, make sure you are prepared with a Framework to make them see the new world, especially during a time of change.

I hope to see you all at our virtual workshop.

Best of luck and take care,

Saher Ghattas,

Co-Founder and CRO, Flawless Inbound