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Covid-19 Special Series Ep 3: Mindset & our collective need to adapt in response to Covid-19

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Covid-19 struck like a thunderbolt and has thrown the world upside down. Many are still reeling as we grapple to right side for a new order. All of us have been forced to wake to a new reality, to pause and immediately assume a virtual reality for most of the population. Teams have been beset too. Episode three is an invitation to look at how teams can use this big pause to disrupt our patterns of thinking & working, the use of time and space,  real-estate and technology to innovate and to build structures to support social cohesion through eco-systems.

Show Notes

Podcast episode summary: I spoke with Sari Van Poelje, Jennifer Britton and Fin Goulding. We spoke about what it means to be virtual, how to adjust for a new “abnormal” and the mindset shifts required to remerge on a yet uncertain  other side. All of the speakers spoke about possibility and the opportunity this pause affords us. Many questions were posed and answered in a rich conversation that spoke to some meta concepts and some practical takeaways for teams. The question became how we can let go the old, grieve appropriately and embrace the new. This has ramifications for Leadership, how we live and work and how we connect across boundaries and how we think of work. This pause like many other conversations is reminding people of our humanity and of what is important.


Points made through the episode:

  • In answer to the question “how are you feeling” the guests almost equivocally responded positively sharing that in their worlds they have been operating virtually and using agile for years. The physical threat of Covid-19 is for sure scary
  • All have welcomed the time out to pause, reflect and to consider their purpose.
  • The crisis has brought many people together in a knowing like none other
  • Remote does not mean disconnected. Technology allows for us to be connected.
  • Virtual is imperative. Hopefully people can continue to get comfortable in their home lives to rework how they work- we are living a paradigm shift.
  • Covid-19 has asked us to acknowledge our interdependence. Need to remember to bring in the human dimension to our conversations on zoom etc. Sari shared her ideas on bringing Yoga and DJs to punctuate her trainings. Other ways of socially engaging were shared
  • Curiously meeting online has some positive benefits. People are more pointed, judicious with their time and careful to listen. There is a skill to facilitating and convening online.
  • Use the technology creatively and strike a balance between the visual, auditory and full meeting space to breakout rooms.
  • Leaders are not coping well in this transition. An old model of leading is being imposed on a new platform. The Leader as coach is required. We as coaches have to support leaders to lean into this way of working
  • Similarly, we need to support leaders to deal in the emotional realm & to understand the usefulness of emotional expression over technology.
  • People are ready for agile. Much confusion abounds about Agile it is often seen as belonging to the world of tech. Sari explained that it is not a mindset but a way of structuring business.
  • We are experiencing various shifts simultaneously, from the physical boundaries to the virtual unbounded, from the global to local, from hierarchical to the eco-system.
  • Leadership is needed with Agile. Leadership needs to embrace interdependence and accept the accountability for stuff is often deeper in the organisation.
  • Businesses need to invest to reconsider the Leadership imperative, to strategize ,maybe not for the long term but for the immediate term and to learn how to pivot.
  • Leaders need to comfortable being disruptors.
  • Collaboration is a word that is easy to say much less easy to practice. We as coaches have a role to play to help leaders and teams collaborate, thinking differently and accepting trade -offs.
  • The work/home dynamic needs to be re-evaluated and supported. Time and the use of space will be re-imagined.
  • Perhaps things have to be conceived of much more simply and equitably. We have to be able to cope on an individua/family/community level as we share our humanity and our new landscape
  • Conversations around Brexit for example have stopped. How will Europe look when we re-emerge?
  • The panel shared some practical tips to close the podcast.
    • Leverage the tools available to allow relations as well as focus
    • Practice and get practiced having efficient meetings this is a learnt skill
    • Take time to pause, reset and consider what is working and what can be let go
    • Honesty, integrity and a degree of psychological safety will be needed to speak up and voice what is not working
    • Learn new skills online
    • A team is a musical instrument, it needs to be played and tuned. The need for retrospectives is even more pronounced
    • People need to establish new routines -and be allowed to do so
    • Every crisis brings opportunity -use this one to go for new possibility
    • Consider this new reality and ask yourself the question -what can I offer
    • Focus on what is important and how you can contribute to mankind
    • Have the varying and various conversations the path will reveal itself.
    • Be willing to reinvent yourself.


Quotable Quote: “There is the past and there is the future we have only two choices, Vanilla or Chocolate- the future, as chocolate holds possibility” Sari Van Poelje

A team is like a musical instrument; it has to be played and tuned” Fin Goulding

“rapid experimentation and learning needed right now” Jennifer Britton


Resources: the following include the resources I alluded to in this episode.

  • Jennifer Britton: Effective Virtual Conversations
  • Jennifer Britton: Remote Pathways Podcast
  • Jennifer Britton:
  • Fin Goulding: Flow, 12 steps to Flow
  • Fin Goulding:
  • Sari Van Poelje: Back to basics Executive Coaching Series-
  • Soon to be published: Agile Innovation Business & Design

Sari Van Poelje:

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