Marketing leaders could have worked for decades and never experienced a crisis like the Covid-19 outbreak.
While the pandemic is testing businesses to their limits, leaders are under pressure to move beyond the initial firefighting stage that characterised the early weeks of lockdown, to set a vision that drives the business forward and instils confidence in their team.
During a crisis like this, people typically tap into their “lizard brain” which enables them to focus on the detail, explains leadership expert Thomas Barta. Leaders, however, need to zoom out of the everyday and explain that while short-term choices need to be made, there is a medium and long-term path.
“Leaders can yield the purpose to help people see the bigger picture in a moment when you’re all looking at the detail. That’s the purpose of the leader, to make sure that people look at both,” says Barta.
It has been crucial for the marketers at Cytiva to have a vision, especially as during lockdown their company was acquired by US conglomerate Danaher and rebranded from GE Life Sciences.
“We’ve rebranded, we’ve become part of a new company, we’ve changed our name, everything is different for our people and the stability that is provided by the constancy in the vision is an anchor,” explains Conor McKechnie, vice-president of marketing at Cytiva.