August/September Business View Magazine

8 9 OPENING LINES 3 WAYS EXECUTIVES OVERREACT TO VOLATILITY AND UNCERTAINTY - AND 3 THINGS CEOS CAN DO TO FIX IT I n the wake of the most volatile quarter in the markets since 2011, CEOs and executives are struggling with how to stay on strategy, says The Miles Group (TMG). “One of the toughest things a CEO or executive can do today is stay focused and steady when the business is under stress,” says Stephen Miles of TMG, which advis- es Fortune 500 C-suites on leadership. “Some- thing like a stock price dip can send the compa- ny into overreaction mode – trying to fix things that aren’t even broken.” Uncertainty can cause even the strongest executives to react in negative ways. “2018 has brought enormous uncertainty around every- thing from trade policy to interest rates to ener- gy prices,” says TMG’s Courtney Hamilton. “This causes wild fluctuations not only in markets, but in companies themselves, as they try to jump ahead of changes and second-guess strategy, usually with bad results.” Leading in a “wartime” full of uncertainty is very different from leading during a time of growth, says Hamilton. “As one CEO that we worked with said, ‘My very best peace-time advisor was my worst team member in a crisis.’” During these times of stress and uncertainty, the TMG team has observed that there are three common toxic behaviors among executives that can derail a company. These emotional impulses not only are ineffective, but also magnify prob- lems and affect all members of the manage- ment team: Focusing on “process” vs. opportunism. One of the most common stress responses is to get bogged down in the small details, slowing things down so that they move at a bureaucratic