In this current climate of uncertainty and disruption, Gartner remains a people business. It is through the hard-work and unwavering dedication of our associates that we will continue to support our clients worldwide.
During times like these, it is critical for all of us to work smarter, for our teams to come together and for our managers to lead through uncharted territories.
Below, Greg Cummings, Business Development Executive and United States Marine, shares how his leadership experience in the military has helped him identify the skills needed to adapt and evolve during times of uncertainty.
Nearly 10 years ago, I had the privilege of leading 53 Marines into combat in Afghanistan. Even with experienced leaders, world-class equipment and months of training, being solely responsible for not only the mission at hand, but also the lives of others could be overwhelming. The unknown and the what-ifs left me feeling alone and under-prepared.
Years later, having transitioned out of the military and into a sales role at Gartner, I find myself once again having to navigate through a period of disruption. As the landscape around me is changing, I am reflecting on the leadership skills I learned while leading my unit to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. I am hoping these tips may even help you lead your team through organizational change.
Be decisive: One of the primary duties of my platoon was to support various operations and adjacent units 24-7. We had to be ready for anything at the drop of a hat, and to do what was necessary to analyze potential risk of a situation: Find the fastest route to a location, determine what equipment to bring and a litany of other challenges. For every mission, we had to find the right answer, and find it fast. As a leader, you may find yourself in a similar situation, where you must seek to find solutions amidst disruption. Know what resources you have available, evaluate risk and act confidently – you’ll inspire your team and your clients.
Ask for help: What was one of my most valued assets during my deployment? My radio. Knowing that there would be an honest, objective opinion with further experience and resources on the other end of the line gave me the support and confidence I needed at times to lead effectively. After all, when we work together, we can achieve more. Whether it’s a colleague, past co-worker, friend or spouse, don’t be afraid to lean on others during trying times.
Think outside the box: The most complacent reason a Marine could give for carrying out a certain action is “because that’s the way we’ve always done it.” Falling back to the status quo, especially during periods of high risk, can have significant implications. Assuming that previous methods are the solution for current challenges can be disastrous. The ability for leaders to effectively evaluate a situation, adapt their tactics if necessary, innovate and decide on the best course of action is what sets top organizations apart during periods of disruption.
Here at Gartner, it is our mission to remove uncertainty. We are on the other end of the radio, waiting for your call. It’s the reason we are here.
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