By Annie Perkins, Managing Director, East
Over the past few months, the collective mindset has moved from shock, to survival, to acceptance. This has happened repeatedly around multiple issues. However, we need to do more than simply accept our circumstances. We must now embrace and live fully in our new world.
The same holds true for many organizations. The process, while disrupting, does not have to be difficult. The real effort lies in our willingness to do the work and embrace the change.
So, what comes first?
Returning to work is not the physical act of walking in the building – instead, it is a state of mind. Now, returning means learning new ways to collaborate, communicate and lead while bridging the distance.
Whether their people are continuing to work remotely or physically returning to offices, companies and their leaders must create an environment where teams, clients and we, as individuals, understand exactly what returning to work means and what we are returning for. This must all be clearly defined and communicated to help everyone embrace the new reality with positivity.
The first place to start is examining the values, mission and purpose of the organization. Do the foundational pillars that stood up the business in the beginning still ring true today? Have you widened the aperture on the communities you serve and the impact you have on your team and the world?
So much of our previous thinking is now void, as consumer behaviors and market demands flipped in the blink of an eye. Every plan for the remainder of 2020 and being developed for 2021 needs to be re-examined, if not be completely thrown out.
A recent post on World Economic forum reminds us, “as we move toward the rebuilding stage of COVID-19, let’s ignore the instinct to go back to the way things were. Instead, let’s listen to individuals and leaders closer to the ground, support and scale their best ideas, and rebuild our society stronger than before.”
There is some good news. In many instances, leaders have embraced the change and taken queues from their employees, their customers and society at large.
There are businesses that have proven we can be stronger in a post-COVID-19 world. Brick and mortar retailers have transformed overnight into omnichannel power houses. Telehealth has seen explosive growth and acceptance and is providing access to services and care in real time with real success. Businesses founded on a core belief that true collaboration could only happen face-to-face quickly discovered working remotely was not only doable but also highly productive and responsive to employee needs.
By staying curious and pushing boundaries far beyond what once was, we will all be better positioned to thrive in a post-pandemic world.