Manage cashflow, drive new business, invest in R&D, cut costs, keep the team motivated, engage with empathy, be vulnerable but show up positively every day, reinvent your business, innovate your product offering, solve society’s big challenges, assume global trade and diplomatic relations leadership, have a social purpose, take a stand, pivot unprecedentedly, avoid using the words pivot or unprecedented, change things up, stay consistent, build resilience, don’t be too harsh on yourself, focus on the future, introduce new technology, be a key opinion leader, reassure an outraged community, get in the AFR, plan in three month cycles, throw out your strategy, be a crystal ball, predict your revenue in the October cliff, get your lighting right, chin up, maintain eye contact, move everything to the cloud, deliver it all virtually and, oh…can you also vlog that?

This is what leaders are now being asked to do daily. That’s outside of homeschooling kids, monitoring the gloomy headlines, maintaining physical and mental wellbeing and being disciplined (or trying to be) about their alcohol and carb intake.

And all of this is to be conveyed through the tiny pin prick of the camera lens on their battered laptop through a patchy internet connection.

Welcome to the future of business leadership.

Never before in our lifetimes have brands and business and government leaders been so challenged to do so much under such oppressive limitations and intense personal pressure.

Our personal brand reputation and that of the organisations we represent has become as easily judged by a distracted look down at a buzzing phone or a pile of washing discarded just over your shoulder that you forgot to push out of shot.

We no longer have the luxury of surrounding ourselves with impressive office spaces, hi tech presentation screens or mass gatherings where people can experience your brand first-hand. It’s leadership stripped bare.

It all boils down to connection

While this challenges the way we have traditionally built our connections and our reputation, it does force us to simplify how we connect.

The chance to have different conversations, become geographically agnostic and collaborate with unexpected partners in virtual meetings, roundtables and seminars that once seemed futuristic and unrealistic is one of the redeeming qualities of operating through COVID-19.

Our purpose at RM is to create connections that change lives. Communications, whether through voice, gesture, written words, or moving images, are meaningless if they don’t move, motivate, inspire, teach, reassure, or even save others.

So when you strip away all that leaders are being asked to do, it comes down to this simple idea – if you can create meaningful connections, then the to-do list becomes much clearer, your purpose much sharper, and your ability to look down the barrel of the camera lens, smile, and be the best you can be, so much simpler.

We’ve been doing a lot of work helping leaders communicate effectively through virtual platforms and video. This includes how to adapt traditional skills, tools and tactics normally taught in media training to those specific to operating in a remote working environment.

Whether it’s being a credible media spokesperson, addressing a staff forum, presenting to a large and faceless audience, or responding to questioning from politicians, demonstrating leadership, empathy, credibility, nuance, clarity and compassion is made all the more difficult when having to do so remotely.

Contact michele.fonseca@bastionrm.com.au if you’d like to discuss how to support your business leaders in creating the connections that change lives.