Cash May Be King, but Your Power Is in Your People

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By now, you have likely identified your crisis priorities and have made prudent financial moves to protect and access operating capital. But what about your people strategy? Have you applied the same level of analysis and rigor to people and culture? If not, read on for practical steps to optimize your talent, so you’re best positioned to rebound quickly and profitably.

1) Design

You must architect your people strategy with intention and purpose now that your business priorities have shifted. This practice starts at the top.

  • Examine the strengths of your senior team and identify gaps between leaders and the new strategy. Increase senior team self-awareness of these strengths and shortcomings by naming them and enlisting the team’s input about how they will collectively and individually rise to the occasion.
  • Review and rally around your core values as they are the pillars of your intentional culture, providing strength and support. Engage leaders at all levels in refreshing and focusing on the values that are most important and inspiring. Ensure that corporate communications and decisions are emphasizing your core values so that people see their connection to the bigger picture.
  • Consolidate and alter teams as needed and communicate new organizational charts and/or reporting relationships.


2) Inspire

Your people may still be afraid and confused; they will look to leadership for reassurance and coaching.

  • Create opportunities for individuals to grow and develop leadership capacity. Trust your high potentials to rise to the occasion of working remotely and doing more with less. Praise and recognize these folks and specifically call out the leadership skills they are displaying.
  • Build manager self-awareness. You have likely heard the saying, “Never waste a good crisis.” Now is the time to have crucial conversations with people about their strengths and areas for development. Be specific about the behaviors you need people to display and why.
  • Empower managers to tailor their communication and leadership styles. Identify communication gaps created by new workflows and priorities. Recognize and reward behaviors associated with new strategic emphasis.


3) Diagnose

In the same way you carefully watch cash flow and keep tabs on financial models and lines of credit, you need to have your finger on the pulse of employee sentiment to assess how recent changes have impacted productivity and engagement.

  • Formally poll people every few weeks using platforms like the Predictive Index® employee experience tool (PIXP™).
  • Encourage managers to directly ask people how they are feeling about work during one-on-ones and invite feedback about how leadership could improve their approach.


4) Hire

While you may be on a hiring freeze until the economic environment is more certain, keep in mind with unemployment projected to surge over 30%, you have access to more talent now than perhaps any other time in history.

  • Re-evaluate job requirements in light of shifting circumstances and go after key talent.
  • Proactively build your talent pipeline so that you are ready to make offers when hiring freezes are lifted.
  • Make informed internal talent moves by updating cognitive and behavioral Job Targets and evaluating existing talent against those benchmarks.


While cash may be king, remember that your power to rebound quickly and profitably lies in your people. Your leaders’ decisions and actions to optimize your talent (or not) will determine whether your people and culture will be an asset or a liability as we move into recovery.



You may also enjoy reading “The Value of Intangible Assets – Your People” by ADVISA’s Chairman Bob Wilson.

Learn more about people strategy and talent optimization in this post by Leadership Consultant Stephanie Murphy.