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A WORD FROM DESIRÉE - JUNE 2020



Well now… here we are in June and I have a COVID hangover. The past 12 weeks of operating in crisis mode, ensuring we were able to pivot to a different way of operating, bringing the team along as well, without adding to the already high stress levels, has been draining.


There is good news here, and actually many things to be grateful for. First and foremost, we have to remember, it’s not the situation that can take you down, it’s your response to that situation that will determine what the outcome will be. You do have control, even in circumstances that you think are out of your control. Your survival instincts (gut) kick in and your subconscious starts to react in the best interest of you and your environment. So, my instincts told me to come down from the 30,000-foot strategic level of a CEO and start to review the day to day with my team. Be supportive, give confidence, and lead by example by stepping into their shoes and working the front lines with them.


I also educated myself through the myriad of free virtual sessions being offered by many outstanding institutions and business organizations. Although the response of support and help was overwhelming it brought to light that when all of us are in the same boat and experiencing things the same way – we all rise to better serve each other, the community, the world. It is actually quite inspiring.


One virtual session resonated with me. A Professor at Queens University through the Smith School of Business held a session focused on executing in uncertain times, and more importantly the “post-pandemic drift”. This is the downside of the buzz we have all been on for the past few months, operating high on COVID crisis. She focused on a few key points I want to share with all of you:


Return to the business environment: No matter what that looks like now. That may mean everyone goes back to the office, or a hybrid of in house and remote workers is initiated. Perhaps you go completely remote; whichever it is, you need to get your team’s focus back on the business strategy and the goals of the organization… although those may have changed because of the pandemic. Your decisions must be made swift in order to move at the pace of this crisis. Perhaps your KPIs and metrics will look different and what you value in a team has changed. Problem solving and communication become the important skills, while working in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) environment is now a talent your team shares.


Recalibrate what’s possible: Take a look at what has changed for you because of COVID. Was there excess capacity that you found that enabled you to lean out and become nimble? Are you more fluid in your operations? Is there a momentum your team has now, working together, to get through the issues derived from the pandemic? Is there a synergy prevalent, as things more important than money and promotions became apparent? Did you find your team was suddenly super focused and could easily prioritize during this time? Overall has productivity improved.


The important lesson here is to ensure that we DO NOT return to pre-pandemic models. That the lessons we have learned, the connections we have made with each other, the adaptability and flexibility we found, and all the barriers and silos that fell away, continue to move us to healthier work environments. Remember at this time true leadership shines, and disruption will flourish. This is an opportunity, and I hope you all take it!


Stay safe and be well,


Desirée

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