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 Five is an invitation to look at how we make meaning and how we re-emerge as a collective. I was curious about what we chose to embrace and reflect on as we experience Covid-19 & what we can generatively create with grace and gratitude.
Podcast episode summary: To answer these and several more questions I interviewed John Baldoni, John McCusker and Richard Boston. The conversation spoke to the very real uncertainty and grief that exists in society and the huge variability that is evident in terms of how people are responding. The panel spoke about societies polarities, the swift change in orientation to value people and connection and the many assumptions around organisational life that are being questioned. The pause had put a lot into perspective and the panel left the conversation being hopeful that as a resilient species we will figure our way out and hopefully make some meaningful changes to the way we relate to life.
Points made through the episode:
- Enormous focus and engagement is evidenced in organisational life
- Witness to huge variability and different phases people are at with respect to Covid-19
- Wide array of emotions from panic initially to overwhelm to expediency and focus to now hope and encouragement
- “Nobody knows anything” a great deal of grief being witnessed in the world-the question is what next?
- The difference between business and life has been collapsed. We are allowed to show up as real humans. This is an incredible time to reflect, do some self-discovery and be inquiring of self and others
- Important that the tone from the top echoes need for compassion and understanding to know that people are in complicated and difficult situations dealing with family life and role expectations of an order that is unprecedented.
- Important that businesses look after the physical and mental needs of their people and the business will follow. This message has been communicated before, but it is now real.
- Huge amount of pressure on employees right now and the imposter syndrome if it existed is now exaggerated. Leaders need to lead with Grace, Generosity, Respect, Action, Compassion and Energy
- Leaders cannot project fear , but they can show concern
- Two strong values are emerging in corporate life include Gratitude and Goodness
- Assumptions about team life and organisational life are being questioned. Can we continue to be more questioning with our assumptions ?
- We need to invent new normal and we do not know how long this pandemic will last creating considerable ambiguity.
- Our mortality is being questioned.
- We are in the process of rehumanising our workplaces putting purpose and empathy centre stage.
- Purpose or our higher level purpose is now front and centre. This crisis has shown teams can operate in a very purposeful and creative manner. In some ways decision making is timelier and team work more expedient. Shines a light on purpose, our humanity and need for empathy.
- We cannot make excuses for not knowing we have never known. Probably only 6/7 possible choices from here. We need to sit down and start planning and same goes for teams.
- Practice anti-fragility
- This pandemic may be a dress rehearsal for future crisis as climate change continues. Are we ready to be with this new reality?
- In any uncertainty be with what you can control to square the circle. Important to act and change if we get things wrong. Perfection is the enemy
- Sad that it has taken Covid-19 for us to appreciate our humanity, our connectedness and our frailty
- The panel hopes that leaders and teams will find a way to collapse societal polarities
- When times are good Profit hides a lot of flaws Covid-19 has shown us the cracks.
- Virtual is Okay. There is an acceptance that video and connection virtually is powerful and can remain
- Virtual does not distract from our connection
- Zoom etc is same as physical and in some ways better, we can focus more and be discerning in how we ask questions and how we relate. A greater sensitivity is called for over virtual.
- Consider Purpose more often and ask about the purpose of organisational life.
- We have been reminded of the beauty of nature can we nurture it?
- The panel left the conversation with a few things they know and can rely on:
- We are stronger and more resilient than we think
- Trust your teammates for their support
- We will get through this-look internally for resource
- Be mindful of our narrative. Some of the language around Covid-19 is defensive. Can we be in choice about the story of recovery and our identity post Covid-19
Resources: the following include the resources I alluded to in this episode.
- Richard Boston: leader-space.com
- John Baldoni: johnbaldoni.com
- John McCusker: bacardi.com
- Nassim Nicolas Taleb, Antifragile