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  • Tara Rethore

Heating Up or Cooling Down?

As temperatures continue to rise in the Northern Hemisphere, the global economy is also heating up. Numerous surveys confirm a more positive outlook for the next year. Coronavirus variants are threatening progress to date. Yet, the pandemic is ceding its place to other potential risks to global growth. This puts many C-suite executives into more familiar territory. Risks remain, yet they are more typical, with clearer options to mitigate them. Still, while the outlook is refreshing, the organization may not feel refreshed. I’m working with senior leaders to understand whether – and how – to turn up the heat for their businesses.


Achieving the vision is not a short-term endeavor.


Currently, senior leaders must do two things: acknowledge the energy consumed to navigate multiple, significant crises; and reinforce their commitment to reach the vision. Yet, achieving the vision is not a short-term endeavor. It’s an ongoing balance of strategy and operations to deal effectively with short-term hazards without derailing longer-term objectives. It requires deliberate attention to people and creating an environment that highlights core values and fosters high performance.


It’s not easy to sustain the pace.


Together with their senior leaders, CEOs set the overall rhythm for the organization. This is the recurring sequence of events, actions, or processes that underpin how the organization works. CEOs also set the pace in pursuing the vision – the speed of these recurring activities. It’s not easy to sustain the pace. In fact, I devote an entire section to sustaining the pace in my book, Charting the Course.


Before deciding whether to turn up the heat – accelerate pace – consider these:

  • Do we have a good feel for the pulse of our organization?

  • Do we respond to the feedback we receive and take appropriate action?

  • Are we maintaining a consistent pace? Is it the right pace?

Answering ‘no’ to any of the questions suggests you hit pause. (See related article here.) Take time to dive deeper and understand what’s really happening. Then place this into the context of your business realities and the outlook. What are you learning about your internal processes and products/services from your customers and staff? What else should you do to support staff?


Those three questions reveal a lot about the readiness of your organization to adjust the pace needed to achieve the objectives. Even if you answer them all affirmatively, it’s often helpful to take a break – a cool down, if you will – before accelerating again. Allow the organization to refresh. This builds good will and injects needed energy.


The outlook is encouraging. Will you capture new opportunities by heating up or cooling down?