Leadership and Development
July 15 | Blogs
How to Talk About Stability as a Leader
Estimated read time 8 min

We can’t spend the way we used to. Access to quick cash and a growth at all costs approach is no longer on the table for most organizations. To ensure your company survives this down economy, focus on your revenue operations. RevOps can help your company identify what works and what doesn’t, so you can prioritize the right activities and free up your existing employees’ time. 

The role of leadership teams is also changing; executives can’t provide the same stability they once could. It’s time to be transparent with your employees about where your company is heading and start including them in your decision making process. 

Becoming radically transparent 

Today’s leaders should continue operating in crisis mode. There’s still too much uncertainty in the markets as we contend with a lasting pandemic, inflation, and a war in Europe. Your company’s survival will require transparency–which means letting go of the belief that a top down approach is the only way for leaders to ensure stability. 

This requires you to let go of authority and distribute decision-making power across your organization. When business pressure is intense and unending, executive teams simply can’t respond and make decisions fast enough by themselves. So stop hoarding information, sitting on data for long periods of time, or only providing updates on a need-to-know basis. 

That is not transparent. Your employees will notice if you’re over confident and behave as if the problems aren’t serious. This is the fastest way to lose their trust. Instead, try for thoughtful and frequent updates and communicate changes as new information emerges. 

Employees might not like what you have to say or agree with all of the tough decisions your company has to make. But your new role as a leader isn’t to avoid bad news or protect them from what’s coming. Focus on getting them onboard and tap into the goodwill you built with them over time. 

It’s leadership’s turn to be vulnerable and to lead by example. Try and paint an honest picture of the road ahead, no matter how dire. When you trust your employees to handle the good, the bad, and the ugly, you’ll actually strengthen your relationship with them. 

Default to trust with employees

When employees don’t feel trusted, they lose self-confidence, are less creative, and contribute less to the organization. If your management team has a history of micromanaging, you need to take action and work on resetting behaviors to be focused on outcomes and results within an agreed time frame, rather than task completion. 

You won’t get through uncertainty without your employees fighting beside you. Give them the information they need to decide whether they want to embrace the challenges and come up with solutions, or decide that it’s time for them to move on to other opportunities. 

Have these difficult conversations earlier rather than later. Otherwise, your team will deal with constant, never-ending stress and uninformed expectations about your company’s stability. This type of organizational exhaustion leads to mental and physical burnout, and ultimately, lower quality work. 

Finally, manage your promises to your employees, clients, and partners. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and ask for empathy in exchange for your transparency. Be realistic about customer service levels and product launch dates and scale back your advertising and marketing campaigns to focus only on what you can deliver.

Ask yourself if it’s time to change some of your policies in order to retain customers and be a better partner. What worked before may be too rigid now. For example, consider letting customers cancel their contracts early or extend their payment terms, rather than spending time chasing invoices that won’t be paid. 

There’s a fine line between optimism and delusion. Refusing to change how you lead your employees and work with your customers will create a culture of distrust. Be transparent, hope for the best, and prepare for the worst.

Outsourcing your employees’ stability 

During a crisis, you can’t always deliver on your career growth promises, especially with revenue teams. You might have to cut headcount drastically, leaving yourself with no support for functions like Salesforce administration. Instead of putting yourself in this precarious position, hire partners like Delegate who can employ your Salesforce admin, give them job stability, and make sure they’re still available to work on your most strategic projects.   

At Delegate, we help companies outsource their RevOps technology operations because hiring in-house can take months to find and onboard specialists. Delegate provides a community of technology experts that work with multiple clients at once. You get the flexibility of workers for your short and long term projects, and can avoid layoffs when budget is tight. 

When you outsource the stability of your RevOps team, we call this model talent sharing. In the face of rising inflation and supply chain issues, companies are cutting costs and are forced to go through layoffs. Talent sharing lets companies temporarily transition their workers to other businesses in their industry or partner network. 

This ensures your employees have employment and benefits while you work on bringing them back into your organization when your budget allows. One great example is a talent sharing program by Sysco Corp and Kroger Company. Kroger provided temporary work for Sysco employees for at least 30 days so Sysco could avoid furloughs and layoffs. 

Let your managers be vulnerable too  

Limited budget and headcount means more responsibility for people managers that are already stretched thin and struggling to support their teams. The relationship between managers and employees is the foundation for employee satisfaction and retention. Without strong bonds, your employees won’t trust their leadership. 

This is when human resources needs to step up with the right tools to help managers be human leaders during crises. The leaders who excel are those who communicate clearly, stay calm and strong, demonstrate empathy, think long-term, and take decisive action. They always push forward, even when everyone acknowledges that times are hard. 

Managers can show vulnerability to their direct reports by talking about their own feelings of loss when tough calls have to be made, like laying off valued employees. The situation isn’t ideal for anyone but that doesn’t mean you should shy away from tough conversations about what the company needs to do to survive.  

Leaders can’t be afraid of negative reactions so always focus on the facts. You won’t have the same top down control over messaging that you used to; you’ll need to trust your employees by being transparent and upfront about challenges. 

Start by giving people a behind-the-scenes view of the different options the executive team is considering. Bring your employees and audience into the decision making process so everyone is clear on how your business will navigate the next few quarters. Whether your employees agree with the decisions or not, they need to understand why these choices were made. 

Taking control as a RevOps director 

Before the pandemic, RevOps directors were focused on growing their team and increasing their sphere of influence. Now, 65% of businesses report that they made changes to their RevOps technology strategy by prioritizing the modernization of their tech stack and improving data insights.  

Start taking control of your revenue function by organizing a meeting with all of RevOps including support, sales, finance, marketing, and executives, to review your current process. Ask what can be done to improve communication between teams, save time and money, and make things easier for the company overall.

From here, focus on technology tools that are designed for automation. They can compensate for less headcount by eliminating busy work, letting everyone focus on revenue generating activities instead. Automation can also help sync data across all revenue departments so everyone is working off the same information. 

Finally, focus on low hanging fruit. That means keeping the lights on and deprioritizing marketing and sales channels or teams that aren’t necessary to reaching your revenue target. Otherwise, you’ll burn out your employees with non-mission critical work–leading to low quality output. 

Simplify your technology stack  

Streamline your revenue function by creating a holistic tech stack that operates as an end-to-end infrastructure process, rather than a frankenstein mix of mini fiefdoms. If you still have technology owned by departments–like CRM owned by sales or ticketing owned by customer support–RevOps attention should be on integrating these applications together. 

Before, RevOps leaders focused on showing the business that they could build and scale a team. Today, RevOps needs to be focused on working collaboratively across teams and getting things done. Move all your operations teams under the RevOps umbrella to increase standardization, reduce costs, and improve responsiveness with customers. 

RevOps directors will have to get more done with less. Bringing in alternative employment partners, like Delegate, can help support all of your revenue functions with knowledgeable and administrators who can get your projects done right away.

How to outsource stability 

You can learn more about how to outsource stability in a down market on the Delegate blog. Subscribe today to receive the latest articles in your inbox.