One of the maxims of leadership is that you only know how good of a leader someone is after they have been tested.
It’s easy to be a leader when everything is going well. It’s like being on autopilot. But the true test of a leader comes when things get tough.
Maybe your organization is stuck and needs to go through changes to hit the next growth curve. Maybe your organization is growing faster than its structure and systems can handle. Maybe there is an internal or external crisis.
As a leader, you are judged by the decisions you make, the way you communicate, and how quickly you react. These things determine your future leadership credibility.
It can be the same way with the culture of an organization. Anyone can claim to have a good company culture, but challenging times reveal the truth.
Little issues can be swept under the rug when things are going well. In good times it’s much easier to overlook the negatives. The company is winning. Everyone feels like they are winning.
But when things get hard and sacrifices must be made, that’s when the rubber meets the road. That’s when you see if the culture you have created is working for you or working against you.
A toxic culture looks like a lack of teamwork and generally selfish behavior. It looks like people wanting to know what’s in it for them. It looks like people refusing to go above and beyond to help each other and to help the organization.
A healthy culture looks like everyone stepping up to help each other succeed. It looks like people realizing that they are part of something greater than themselves and wanting to do whatever it takes to help their teammates and the organization win.
The coronavirus pandemic has created a time of crisis. It is not an easy time to be leading an organization.
At Telcion, I’m proud to say that we’ve been seeing our core values play out in a positive way. It has been a joy to watch. The values that we have long esteemed as critical to our company identity have served us well in this time.
When stay-at-home orders were first issued, nearly all of our clients needed help transitioning large numbers of employees to working from home. This created a huge load for us as we provisioned the necessary features in each of our clients' environments.
We had some clients who were maxing out on inbound calls and needing to expand their capacity overnight. Others needed to turn up emergency call centers to handle overflow. One client needed to relocate 100 employees to a temporary building within one week. That move required all kinds of infrastructure and agility to make it happen. Our team responded.
Culture is something that many organizations talk about, but it must be more than talk. It must be something that everyone practices. And it must be something that is communicated regularly.
Telcion is not perfect, because people are not perfect. We are constantly striving to live out the values that we have deemed critical to our success. We hold each other accountable when we aren’t living up to them. This is what makes being on this team so great.
To all of our people: it’s great being on this team with you and seeing our values show up when it matters most.
To all of our clients: we have loved being able to serve you through this crisis. We look forward to continuing to serve you in the future.
[This article was contributed by Lance Reid, Telcion's CEO.]