How To Lead With Certainty In Uncertain Times

June 23rd, 2020 | Penelope Fridman, President, L’Institut Idée and Mathieu Ouellet, Founding Partner, Tulipe

Game pieces in a group with a leader pieceIt’s a challenge to define the core DNA of your brand, let alone do it during a pandemic or extreme social unrest. In the current market environment, a spotlight is shining in dark places, making customers more aware of a company’s values and how it’s interfacing with the world around it. COVID-19 and the fight for civil rights have magnified and amplified the need for businesses to have a purpose beyond just the financial. Now, consumers are making purchase decisions based on your core DNA – what you stand for and how you behave.

Given this, it is necessary to both understand and respond to the evolving marketplace as well as to ensure that your organization has a clearly stated raison d’être to meet the demands of changing customer mindsets. But how?

The Macro Context: The Marketplace

To see the world anew we need a new tool set. L’Institut Idée’s Structural Mapping Process® methodology has allowed us to uncover the drivers of success for a business looking to succeed after a global crisis. Here are a few key insights:

Declare your superpower

In order to survive in a challenging marketplace, there is now a requirement to focus efforts and resources on identifying core essentials and embracing a “back to basics” mentality.

It is also imperative that a business understands what it excels at and is really providing to the world. Today’s customer looks for and rewards companies that have a purpose, take meaningful action and behave responsibly. To be successful, especially during a time of crisis, your company must own and declare its ‘superpower,’ that which it does or provides that no one else can claim.

Innovate to leap forward

Imagination and creativity cannot flourish in a fearful or negative environment. Fostering a positive culture in your organization, no matter the market environment, enables and encourages constructive leaps forward.

Because the status-quo may no longer be relevant or possible, companies must be ready to do things differently and be actively encouraging innovation. In the ‘new normal,’ people will be craving both what they have missed as well as demanding products and services to satisfy emerging needs.

The Micro Context: The Organization

Tulipe, a management consulting firm and L’Institut Idée’s sister company, takes the work even further. At Tulipe, we believe there are three takeaways for businesses looking to navigate the “new normal”:

Customer demand defines business parameters

Understanding customers’ evolving needs and mindsets throughout the crisis stages, and how they will drive demand, is key to developing appropriate strategies and actions.

These new mindsets are already impacting how customers behave across different sectors and reflect what customers now consider essential and non-essential. Your business must be ready to address these needs with responsive communications, advertising, products and services.

Organizational capability dictates what to protect and transform

A business must stay true to its core by setting an evolving hierarchy of priorities to ensure business continuity. Never waste a good crisis to seize on the opportunity to push the envelope. But remember, if it was easy everybody would do it.

Customize your goals, processes and measurement metrics in order to build your business intelligence capabilities. This will allow you to adapt your actions and efforts based on evolving situations.

Leadership mindset drives success

Last but not least, leadership mindset plays a big role. Leaders need to inspire confidence and promote positivity in order to instill confidence, reassure and engage stakeholders.

In this moment many leaders feel they are under a brighter spotlight. Their employees are looking at them for guidance and more importantly inspiration. Being a good leader is not about being the best. It is about getting the best out of people.

Future proof

By understanding the evolving marketplace, having the right leadership mindset and having an aligned and focused business, you can ride the whitewater of uncertainty and emerge stronger. Going forward it’s going to get tough, but some of the world’s most celebrated companies and brands were founded in recessions and even The Great Depression. When leaders are focused, positive and foster creativity, trailblazing and world-changing businesses emerge.

Get the whitepaper for more information.


Penelope Fridman, President, L’Institut Idée

With more than two decades of senior-level business and marketing experience, Penelope brings an uncommon level of insight and strategic leadership to her impressive list of clients. Having developed unique participatory methods for achieving insight and alignment, Penelope founded L’Institut Idée, part of the Humanise collective of independent companies, where she serves as president.

Mathieu Ouellet, Founding partner, President, Tulipe

An accomplished marketing, strategy, and business development professional, Mathieu has 20 years of experience that spans North America, Europe, and Asia. His achievements include several major initiatives to help companies change their business models, implement innovative growth strategies, and expand intelligently. Mathieu studied international management and finance at Concordia University and holds an MBA from the Rotterdam School of Management.