Leading in a Time of Crisis

Grit, empathy, generosity and fierceness–these scary times are eliciting some of humanity’s best traits.

A Letter from Prophet CEO Michael Dunn

Like many others, we at Prophet are intensely focused on the rapid rise of COVID-19. And as this virus spreads in new and unexpected ways, our first concerns are–of course–for human safety.

Our worst fears are the most intimate. We’re worried about our own health and protecting our families, especially the very old and the very young. And we’re increasingly concerned with the well-being of those in all our communities. Coworkers. Neighbors. Clients. Friends. Family at a distance.

As the days continue, many of us are facing other fears. Ones focused on financial security – the health of our businesses and the livelihoods of our teams. Many of us are trying not to voice that concern when lives are on the line. But it is there – and for those of us who guided businesses through the economic upheaval of 2008, 2001, or even the early ‘90s and ‘80s, we understand that now more than ever, it is imperative to be a strong leader to help our organizations survive, and maybe even thrive.

Leading in the face of disruption requires a mix of characteristics that are difficult to harness, even when your business is at its strongest. Grit and empathy. Agility and decisiveness. Creativity and rigor. Generosity and fierceness. We need to bring our “A” game each moment, inspiring and drawing inspiration from teams all around us. If we can, we will all find a way through this, together.

“When you find yourself drifting, draw on your strengths and lean into a growth mindset.”

For more than 20 years, we have been studying how organizations, brands and leaders source growth in the face of disruption. Growth that is purpose-led, innovative, relevant and sustaining. By leaning into our organization’s core values and capabilities, by listening hard to our customers and stakeholders and by understanding how their rapidly shifting contexts are creating new needs, we are finding better ways to serve. We are charting new paths.

We’re already starting to embrace new innovations and shifts. Special shopping hours for seniors, take-out 5-star meals, the explosion of telemedicine and distance learning, yoga streamed “live”, 3-D printing hackathons to backfill medical device shortages: these hopeful responses are unfolding all around us.  Pay attention to these actions that speak to the spirit of humanity, the impact of selfless business and the power of collaborative ingenuity.

When you find yourself drifting, draw on your strengths and lean into a growth mindset. Human-centered, digitally powered, purpose-led – find your way to emerge from the Covid-19 crisis stronger and more confident than ever.

Stay healthy and safe,

Michael Dunn