Historically, leaders who have remained focused and resilient through tumultuous times have tended to weather storms better than more reactive peers. Roslansky did just this, leading LinkedIn through these critical phases with an eye toward innovation. In response to shutdowns and hiring freezes, he and his team considered what other aspects of LinkedIn might benefit users, such as trainings and events. By adapting the company’s core services, Roslansky made a bold move without any guarantee that LinkedIn’s user base would react positively. And it worked. “Instead of a $2 billion loss forecast, we saw $3 billion-plus growth,” he says.
“The task of any leader right now is to ensure you’re really stepping up and making decisions to move forward,” he says. “Be agile and understand that there’s a middle ground between making rash decisions and becoming rigid due to fear. Adaptive leaders — and especially entrepreneurs — see moments of change as a way to find opportunity for growth.”
Cultivating a new mindset counts for everything
A recent EY study of 1,200 global CEOs showed that nearly all expected a near-term recession, and more than one-half (55%) believed it would differ in complexity compared to prior economic downturns. Leaders didn’t agree on how long or severe the recession would be, but they did identify a host of concurrent issues they viewed as nearly equal, complicating threats — pandemic-type supply-chain issues (32%), geopolitical tensions (30%) and climate change pressures (28%). The key takeaways were to continually reassess the business holistically, juggle near-term and long-term thinking, and be bold in pursuing new opportunities.
Flytographer is a service that connects travelers with professional photographers around the world. In 2020, founder and CEO Smith overcame moments of self-doubt when the pandemic shut down travel, forcing difficult decisions regarding talent, logistics and every other aspect of her brand.
“When the pandemic hit, we lost 98% of our business overnight,” she says. “In order to ensure the viability of my company and that we’d make it through to the other side, I had to make some really quick decisions. That included temporarily laying off 80% of the team. [I had to] reexamine the entire business.”