How to encourage your team in a time of disruption.
I was fortunate to attend a wonderful college, a long time ago, that was much more than just earning a degree. It was a special place that invested in me as a person and expanded my world-view, inspiring much of my career to be focused in global contexts.
The well-known Reverend Curry is also an alum from the same special college and he recently posted a tribute to the 2020 graduates whose commencement celebrations are looking different than they anticipated. He encouraged the graduates to consider asking themselves and others as they move forward into the world Why Not? And this really spoke to me. I realized that I have been asking why not for a very long time, in a lot of different circumstances and I’ve been encouraging others to ask this as well. Maybe there was something in those 4 years dedicated to developing ourselves as life-long learners in a place where critical dialogue was encouraged that affected us both, a generation apart. Or maybe it’s just coincidence but his words of Why Not have been ringing in my ears since I viewed his meaningful tribute.
So, as leaders guiding your team and organizations through the coronavirus disruption how are you encouraging your people to ask themselves why not?
If a planned event is no longer feasible ask- why not conduct it virtually and reconfigure the design so that it is still engaging but in a new way.
If a client is asking for a new approach given new circumstances- why not reduce the internal approval process steps so that you can be more responsive and timely?
If a board member or other key stakeholder wants an update of the state of things and an overview of the plan forward for the next 3 months why not highlight your best thinkers ideas for new ways forward that are out of the box?
If your original fiscal year plan is out of the window why not invite some new perspectives to the table to think through ideas of what possibilities might exist that have yet to be revealed.
THE PERKS OF DISRUPTION
One of the perks of a time of disruption is that things that used to be barriers for us to accomplish our best work are often times suddenly gone, at least for the time being. Suddenly people who were not accessible to us before are suddenly within reach- so why not engage with them. Restrictions on doing business virtually are all gone, so how far can you take something that was once constrained by limited face-to-face interactions?
We are all working differently now- so identifying the little pockets of flexibility that are emerging within the disruption can be very helpful in making a positive difference.
PROTECT AND CONSERVE? THINK AGAIN.
In times of disruption its automatic for most people to go into protect mode and conserve. Those who are typically risk-adverse particularly struggle and revert to what feels most familiar. So why not thinking doesn’t come natural for everyone and for every leader, and that is ok.
For leaders interested in helping their teams and organizations succeed right now it is a good idea to at least be conscious of our own tendencies to limit possibilities. If you intentionally get into the habit of asking yourself- why not…. you might just be surprised by the possibilities that emerge.