Let’s Not Throw The Baby Out With The Bathwater

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The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter. Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are decreasing in the United States and much of the world. In many states businesses are fully open, workers are returning to the office, air travel is increasing, rental cars are in short supply, and rush hour traffic is beginning to re-emerge. 

We are having to recalibrate the way we schedule our day to allow for travel to in-person meetings and increased traffic, as well as dust off our business wardrobes – yuk! Businesses are struggling with questions like does everyone need to return to the office five days a week and how to we effectively move forward with a hybrid model? 

All events, both good and bad, result in both positive and negative consequences. The pandemic is no different. The question as we move toward a post-pandemic reality is: What are those positive consequences and how do we purposefully engineer them into the future so we avoid throwing the baby out with the bathwater? 

Here are some of the positive consequences that I believe, as leaders, we need to find a way to take forward with us into our post-pandemic future. 

More Compassionate, Resilient Leadership

In the early days of the pandemic many leaders adopted an attitude of gratitude and grace showing greater empathy and understanding of what team members were going through. We focused our teams and ourselves on what we could rather than what we were not able to do. Leaders became more approachable, looking for ways to help employees simultaneously cope and continue performing at high levels. Teams pulled together to respond to obstacles and challenges with resiliency, resourcefulness, and creativity. In many instances survival became a common purpose. How as leaders do we rally teams around a new common purpose as we move forward? How do we continue to exhibit compassionate leadership and develop a people first culture? 

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Improved Engagement of a Remote Workforce

Remote workers and teams based in different locations existed long before the pandemic. What changed was the magnitude and location. When virtually everyone became remote, working alone from their homes, leaders were forced to become more intentional in how they engaged a fully remote workforce. Historically remote workers were often overlooked and excluded from many aspects of organizational culture. Regardless of whether organizations return fully to the office, implement a work from anywhere approach, or develop a hybrid model, the most effective leaders will create a people first culture that focuses on engaging all employees regardless of where they are located.  

Effective Virtual Meetings and Training

As a facilitator, I like all facilitators, was forced to move to a virtual format. And while I was dubious of the impact we could have in that format, my beliefs about the effectiveness of virtual training (and virtual meetings) have changed. The question is not whether we will continue to meet and train virtually. It is how will we develop hybrid models that incorporate the best of virtual and in-person settings? We will also need to find ways to be more effective with a mixed modality where some people are virtual and some are in-person. Continuing to have cameras on is one critical component.  

What positive consequence of the pandemic do you want to permanently engineer into your personal and your organization’s future?   


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