As the world edges closer to COVID-19 recovery, at times it can feel like we are in an unsettling holding pattern. This holding pattern continues to deliver heightened levels of uncertainty and the risk of unknown future direction on many levels – individual, family, community, organisational, and the greater world. If we are holding on to the hope of returning to ‘normal’ we are misguided – there is no going back to our old concepts of normal yet there can be an untapped opportunity in the new normal.
Pandemics and major world crises are not without precedence: To name just a few, the world was vastly different after the 1918 Spanish Influenza Epidemic, each of the two World Wars, and more recently the GFC. The speed of change and need for rapid adaptation has impacted many businesses like Kodak and Nokia. It’s not about whether the impacts are negative or positive, it’s much more about the way we adapt as leaders and flexibility in the way we work.
In these times of heightened uncertainty many leaders are seeking the focus required to take their organisation and their people forward, one that is meaningful, stabilising and sustainable. Overwhelmingly the response has been the criticality of connection. As humans, we crave connection. With the likelihood that we will experience more diverse working arrangements, a key challenge for leaders Is how they dial-up connection.
We can view the connection through two lenses.
The first lens of connection is through the organisational vision and core purpose. As we emerge from COVID, leaders have the opportunity to reassess the vision and core purpose, to identify changed risks and dependencies. This may lead to a fresh approach or a reset of the vision and core purpose with the added benefit of strengthening the business. People are searching for the anchor, how do I connect, contribute and add value in this time of uncertainty. Through providing clarity of purpose, how they contribute to the attainment of the purpose will dial up their sense of value and connection.
The second lens of connection is bringing people together through the vision and core purpose. In times of crisis, new attributes such as empathy, agility and effectiveness rise to the surface and are valued. Often in times of natural disasters (which COVID19 can be equated to), people come together and collaborate to deliver high-performance outcomes. Strongly connected to their purpose and end goals, people are empowered to move obstacles, be decisive and timely, with accountability to make things happen. This builds connection and more empathy within their teams and organisation.
To lead in these continued times of heightened uncertainty, leaders will need to dial-up connection and this will require an authentic commitment by leaders who recognise and value the contributions of people and teams.
How are you, as a leader, adapting and keeping connection? We urge Leaders to contemplate:
What are your strategies to connect your people to the vision and core purpose?
How are you dialling up your connection with your teams?