Over many years of being directly involved with managing talent at the top of organizations, I’ve experienced a variety of economic crises, both large and small, with each eventually creating its own set of new and challenging executive job opportunities.  The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic is proving to not be an exception to that rule. 

As economies struggle to regain their footing from the on-again, off-again tidal-like surges of this global pandemic, we’re seeing both improved and new, highly efficient and effective operational models emerge to deal with this crisis.  Much of this efficiency and effectiveness is a result of the business having no choice but to change to meet customer needs in a time of extreme crisis.  This is a classic “burning platform” for change:  Either change the way you do things or lose your customers.  With these changes, major productivity gains have accelerated much faster than in the past.  Sensing a new course for cost and process effectiveness, forward-thinking boards and top management are working to sustain and even improve these gains.  Therein lies the silver lining, it’s just not a question of how, but what organization capabilities and leadership skills are necessary to sustain and build on this productivity improvement.  Boards and CEOs are now beginning to look at company leadership to determine who is most capable of leading the business into its next iteration of operating model strategies.  We are starting to see a bubble of challenging refocused top management job requirements in the executive job market focused on leadership skills and experiences that can drive growth and sustain and even improve this newfound operational efficiency.

Through the pain, challenges and frustrations of any crisis, it’s often difficult to see “silver linings” to give you reasons for hope, optimism and recovery.  But for an executive that may be looking for the next great opportunity, this crisis may just be a silver lining and catalyst to make a job, company or even industry changes.