Paige Arnof-Fenn: Inspiring Leadership Through Crisis

In the modern digital age, leaders have been propelled to revisit and redefine their business strategy and align work to future business value. They need to reimagine how work gets done by integrating the unique set of resources, such as people, technology and others, to define a competitive organization. All the while, effective leaders need to remain patient, maintain a sense of perspective and keep things going as normal as possible. 

In an interview with IndustryWired, Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls, shares how the company meets customers’ demands, analyzes risks and uncertainties and drives innovation to lead over its peers.

 

As a Leader, how are You Coping With this Adverse Situation? Please Tell Us the Measures Taken by You and Your Company.

The biggest change for me, my team and my clients from the virus so far is the shutdown of all networking events, travel and conferences. This is typically a very busy time with many events, trade shows, business meetings on the road, etc. and for the past few months, everyone is staying put and meeting virtually instead. I have had more Zoom and Skype calls in the past 15 days than the prior 12 months! Pivoting to online meetings, webinars, etc., is a smart and productive way companies can continue to have conversations that educate and inform, build relationships and move forward during this crisis period. So first and foremost, I have learned to help small businesses to be flexible and open-minded so we can keep working together during the crisis and create more flexible capacity going forward over the next year as the economy reopens. If small groups on the team want to talk through specific issues (managing anxiety, kids, parents, etc.), virtual coffee meetings online have been helpful too. A few colleagues have even met online after work for virtual happy hour/beer/cocktails as well when they had more time to chat. It is starting to feel like the new normal by leveraging technology to build and maintain my relationships. We have learned that finding routines and things we can control helps others.

 

How are You Inspiring Your Team in The Crisis?

Communication is key to all of our community, customer and employee engagement. As far as messaging goes, between the pandemic and the possible recession, leaders have an opportunity to further connect with anxious audiences and focus on the true relevance of their products or services. We have to acknowledge that now things are different, so we need to communicate in a way that will give our audiences better focus, helping them to create a bridge from today to the future. We need to communicate in a way that combines information and need, synthesizing feeling and facts. I feel we have a tremendous responsibility because never before has communications had the power to help society in the way that it does right now.

Words are part of the healing process and we can see which leaders and brands are doing the best job every day with messages that touch not only the mind, but also the heart and soul. There has never been a more important time to provide accurate, empathetic communication with transparency, truthfulness and timeliness. It is inappropriate now for content to appear tone deaf in any way to this crisis.

 

If You Have to Share a Message/Advice with Our Audience, What Would It Be?

I predict the most trusted leaders and brands will have a big competitive advantage in the new normal that evolves in a post-Corona world. Employees, customers and clients will remember who treated them well during the crisis and they will be rewarded with loyalty from earning that trust during the bad times. The current crisis has provided a stage for our political and business leaders to rise to the occasion. We have learned that it is about touching people in meaningful ways which may mean being less busy not more for a while. These ideas do not require big budgets, but they are productive ways to get through this together. For professional service firms like mine, we will recover even if our revenues slow from the crisis. Maybe the silver lining is that this crisis reminds us that we have always needed each other and we have learned that everyone is struggling right now to find a new normal, so the key is to show our humanity and compassion while we look out for one another. With Zoom, social media, cell phones, etc., we see that technology does not have to be isolating our lives, it can be used to build our real-world communities and relationships too! If we can hold on to the very best parts of this lockdown personally and professionally, the world will be a better place for it.

 

Leadership Bio:  

Paige Arnof-Fenn is Founder & CEO of Mavens & Moguls, a global network of seasoned marketing expert, who can do anything a marketing department, market research shop, public relations firm or ad agency does on an as-needed or outsourced basis. Paige graduated from Stanford University and Harvard Business School and is a popular speaker and columnist who has written for Entrepreneur and Forbes. The company is based in Cambridge, MA. Its clients include Microsoft, Virgin, The New York Times Company, Colgate, venture-backed startups as well as non-profit organizations.