If the global pandemic is a once in a lifetime experience, then organisations have a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Unexpected disruptions highlight the cracks in our systems.
Bushfires, floods, pandemics. Preparation and planning are important but it’s is only when the real events occur that the cracks in the system are revealed.
In particular COVID has challenged a number of our ‘thinking systems’.
- It’s challenged the way we think about work, and about where and how we do it.
- It’s challenged the way we trust or don’t trust our colleagues to work from home.
- It’s challenged our ability to manage unexpected change and to see change as an opportunity rather than a barrier.
- It’s challenged the way we view work/life balance. Wasn’t it lovely to reconnect with the family and go on walks whilst in lockdown. Wasn’t it nice to get back four hours a day usually spent in commuting.
- It’s challenged our perspective of community: what’s more important – me and what I want (wearing a mask or self-isolating) or will I make personal sacrifices for the greater good.
- And it’s challenged the perspective of several generations who have never experienced such an imposition on their daily lives.
Most of all it’s highlighted that PEOPLE are more important than ANYTHING.
And it’s highlighted that perhaps our skills in supporting people and their stress, their mental health, their productivity, their ability to adapt, learn, grow and contribute are lacking. It has highlighted those who have been coasting along – or should I say ‘allowed’ to coast along without being held accountable in their teams.
Opportunity to start showing up differently. Showing up with a better understanding of the humans in the equation.
Opportunity to start listening differently. Listening for the cracks: the falter in the voice, the distrust, the venting or wallowing – and respectfully and strategically opening up the conversation to understand what’s going on and how to move forward productively.
Opportunity to engage differently. To take a coaching approach to leadership and conversations rather than a ‘tell’ approach. Asking works much better for humans.
And an opportunity to think differently about the future. To identify the cracks in the system and commit to useful change and evolution to make the future even better.