The meaning of leadership during times of uncertainty

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By Kris Denos
Vice President and Region General Manager, CDK Global Lightspeed and Heavy Equipment

In these volatile, uncertain times, effective leadership today is even more important and fundamental. It is a time to show how we lead as individual companies, brands, communities and work stronger together to get through this unprecedented time. Hear from Kris Denos and his approach to leadership as we navigate through these uncertain waters.

What is the best piece of leadership advice you have received and continue to utilize?

Be your authentic self. It seems very simple, but it’s not always practiced. In my early years as a leader, I was very self-critical. I tended to focus on my gaps vs others or vs what I pictured as the ideal person in my role. While it’s still a good idea to work on your weaknesses, the most effective leaders understand their strengths and work to magnify them. Be the best YOU that you can be.   

What leadership mantra/phrase/motto/quote is going through your head that helps you?

It’s all about locus of control. If I focus on what is in my locus of control, I empower myself to make choices and changes — even when external forces are impacting me. 

What is your strategy to lead during crisis? What did you learn about yourself?

In times of uncertainty and ambiguity, focus on what you CAN do to make the best of the situation. What problems can you solve today? What information do you need to solve the next set of problems? Communication is key. Don’t wait until you know everything. Communicate what you do know and be comfortable with communicating uncertainty. In the absence of information, people will make up their own stories and come to their own conclusions. Give your team the best information you have as soon as you possibly can share it. Be open and honest about what you know and don’t know. And don’t forget to share the small wins along the way!

What do you think will be the main learning or takeaway from this time that will impact or change the future?

I think we’re learning to do things during this time that we will definitely take with us going forward. For example: how to effectively work remotely, how to connect with people when you can’t be there in person,  how to serve your customers in a completely foreign environment.  The most important thing I hope we learn from this time is to really value relationships – our coworkers, our customers, our neighbors, our communities and our country. We need to value each individual and recognize we are stronger when we work together and genuinely care about each other.

What else would you like to share with the industry as a whole?

We empathize with all in the industry that have been impacted on both a personal and professional basis. Rest assured we at CDK Global / Lightspeed are here for you and your business, and will continue to support the industry as we recover.  I have a lot of confidence that we will get through this together. While it might not happen overnight, we can come out stronger on the other side. I believe our industry will bounce back. In times of crisis, people take inventory of what is important in their lives and will place even more value on the experiences that our industry offers. 

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