Lockdown continues to wreak havoc on businesses across the country. And if that was not enough, the political upheaval currently going on also presents a real threat to many businesses in affected parts of the country. The pandemic continues to have a negative impact on businesses and the economy globally.

These conditions have created much uncertainty and challenge for business owners and executive leaders. Below are 5 non-negotiables that you must have, as a leader, to successfully navigate through these times of uncertainty and challenge.


  1. You must have a clear vision and direction

One thing that is easy to lose sight of when trying to lead your business through tough times is your vision and direction. When confronted with the immediate concerns of keeping your business alive, or wondering if you’re going to make it through the month, thinking about the long-term vision is perhaps the farthest thing from your mind right now. However, perhaps counterintuitively, reminding yourself of your vision for your business can be a powerful tool to help you navigate through challenging times.

Essentially, a clear vision helps you through tough times in the following ways:

  • It provides a sense of purpose, that is, your “why” for starting your business or company in the first place
  • It can be a powerful motivating force
  • It strengthens your resolve as the leader of your company/business

Purpose is essential is for any business owner or CEO of a company. It is purpose that gives you a sense of direction when you are surrounded by chaos. As the leader of your business, your team and employees look to you to provide them with direction when times are tough. Thus, as the leader, you must be clear to your purpose and have the clarity of vision that is required.


Sometimes, depending on the dictates of circumstances, you may need to adjust your vision in order to adapt to the changing conditions. In order to know how to adapt your vision, you must first be clear on what that vision is in the first place. Hence, having clarity of vision can also provide you with the necessary resourcefulness to navigate your business through difficult times.

  1. You must have a clear medium to long-term strategy

Flowing directly from clarity of vision and direction, having a strategy is the practical or action-oriented manifestation of the vision and direction. If the vision is where you are heading, the end destination, the idealised picture of where you want your business to be, then the strategy is the roadmap of how to get there. The strategy sets out the short, medium and long-term goals that serve as milestones on the way towards the end destination.

When faced with the unexpected roadblocks such as those presented by the pandemic, and specifically the ongoing lockdowns, like any good navigator, sometimes you need to re-strategise, to find another route to get to the destination. There are multiple paths to success. Which path you choose is sometimes within your control, other times it may be beyond your control. What is important is to have a plan, and the courage to make changes to that plan in response to prevailing conditions.

One thing that many business owners should learn from the current circumstances is the necessity of having a strategic plan. Strategic planning is a recognised and critical organisational process that involves prioritising goals, allocating resources, getting agreement on objectives/outcomes to be achieved, and assessing an organisation’s direction in response to changing conditions. Having a strategic plan can go a long way to helping you prepare yourself and your business for current and/or future challenges and threats.

  1. You must invest in yourself through coaching, mentoring and skills development

It is often during difficult times when we, as humans, require the most support to help us navigate through those challenges. As the leader of your company or business, you are no exception. Many business owners are unable to get back on track, not only because of the impact of the lockdown, but because of feeling that they lack support, and are “in it alone”. Fear, anxiety, limiting beliefs and lack of confidence are all mindset blocks that can result from a feeling of isolation.

There are two ways to counteract this. First, invest in your personal development as a leader. Keep improving yourself by developing the key skills and competencies you need to lead your business in the right direction. Learn the skills you need to adapt to challenges. Strengthen your mindset by developing mental disciplines to help you stay focused and on track, despite all the distractions. Learn how to maintain a positive mindset amidst all the negativity going on.

The second, and more effective way to counter mental blocks, is to work with a professional coach. My coach always says that having a coach is like the difference between riding a bike uphill with the wind in your face, or riding downhill with the wind at your back. Most people would prefer the latter, and that is what coaching provides. Even if you feel like you are riding uphill, with gusts of wind threatening to knock you all the way down the hill, a coach can give you that much needed push to keep you going forward. Coaching provides a source of support that is individualised to suit your specific situation. And, unlike a consultant, a coach provides you with a space to tap into your own resourcefulness to find creative solutions to your own challenges, rather than prescribing what you should do. This is crucial because solving your own problems will always yield better results, not only in terms of solving the challenges, but giving you the confidence to know that you have the resources to deal with challenges.

  1. You must take decisive action

Perhaps the most important trait of a business leader, the ability to take decisive action is a non-negotiable. However, during times of heightened anxiety and uncertainty, procrastination and hesitation can creep in. Naturally we become risk-averse when going through tough times. But, a leader should always be prepared to take decisive action, even more so when enduring hardship. Many business owners are afraid to take decisive action because all they see are the potential risks, or the negative circumstances that they are in. However, taking calculated risks, and with the support and strategizing you can do with a coach in your corner, taking action can mean the difference between successfully navigating your business through crisis or succumbing to it.

  1. You must prioritize your focus and take the right actions consistently

Directly related to 4 above, taking action is one thing, but taking the right action is often the breakthrough that is needed. This is why having a strategy is vital. Your strategy often determines what the right course of action is to take. To determine the right action, and to have the confidence to take that action consistently, you must be clear on your vision, goals and direction, have a clear strategy, have the support of a coach/mentor, and be prepared to take decisive action. What you notice is that all of these aspects work synergistically. This is why I refer to them as the 5 MUSTS for a business leader to have.


Prof Theodore Petrus

Executive Coach for Business Executives, CEOs and Directors

Phone/WhatsApp/Skype: +27 722 843 156

Email: theo@tsplifeskills.co.za

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/theodore.petrus

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/theodore-petrus-business-and-academic-coach-494896106/

Website: https://linktr.ee/businessandpersonalsuccess

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