One Year Out

A year ago today, COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the head of the World Health Organization. Since then, there have been both losses and successes that we have faced in all areas of our lives.

I’m sure you’ve been thinking back over the year from different perspectives. For our focus here, I invite you to reflect on how your leadership has evolved in the face of the uncertainties the pandemic presented. Here are some questions for reflection:

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Another Meeting?

Do you ever feel like you just can’t take one more meeting? People are becoming increasingly numb to them, especially those who are working remotely. The remote workplace has spawned more meetings, many of which are valuable check-ins for teams, while others are unnecessary wastes.

A lot of meetings were created in the early days of the pandemic for specific reasons tied to connecting with co-workers. Thoughtfully consider the relevance of these gatherings. The original purpose may have run its course and it’s time to “retire” it. Or, it may be time to repurpose, shorten, or reduce the frequency.

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Navigating Complexity

The recent announcement of Jeff Bezos stepping aside as Amazon.com CEO to become the firm’s executive chairman has captured much attention in the business press. Do you even remember that Amazon started off as “just” a bookseller?

I’ll leave it to others to describe the myriad accomplishments and innovations that Amazon has pioneered over the years. What this triggers, though, is how we can apply some concepts to our complex business environment.

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“Reboot” Your Mindset

Remember the strategies and goals that you started the year with back in January? It seems impossible to believe that we have barely three weeks left in 2020. Clearly, many of the hopes, plans, and aspirations with which we began the year were dashed and sucker punched.

But remember, it’s not what happens to you that matters, rather it’s what you do about what happens to you.

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Management By Walking Around….Virtually

Just because many companies are working remotely doesn’t mean that your staff isn’t experiencing strife. “He said” this and “she did” that and “I don’t know anything about this” are expressions that pop up, whether you’re remote or physically in the office.

When you hear these types of phrases occasionally, it’s normal and controllable. But if these expressions occur regularly, you need to investigate what’s going on.

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View to the Future

Welcome to the second half of 2020.

Having gone through the wild and unpredictable ride of the past four months, where do you go from here? Do you have a handle on various scenarios that you can plan for the next six months?

Rather than wandering aimlessly through the rest of the year, it’s worth establishing three scenarios that you can adapt to depending on the continuing impact of the pandemic and economic challenges. Here are some broad strokes that can help to inform your specific situation.

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Attitude vs. Skills

What changes would you like to see in your team when you transition from sheltering at home and begin to return to the workplace? This is a great time to rethink higher standards and to articulate those expectations to your staff.

Here are some extremes to observe from the past six weeks or so. When working remotely, have your people:

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“We’ve Always Done It This Way”

Change is almost always received with at least a little resistance. When someone says “we’ve always done it this way” it’s a signal that you’ll need to do more work than just the change itself. You’ll need to “sell” your people on why this specific change.

When planning for change, then, you should plan for the change itself in addition to internal persuasion time. Yes, this takes more time, and yes, you need to do this.

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Leading Yourself Through Change

Even the most confident leaders can feel a little wobbly during times of significant change. After all, you’re dipping your toes into a great unknown where you may not have trekked before. Although you’ve probably gone through hundreds of changes, why do feelings of unease creep in?

It’s just what happens during change, plain and simple. And given your level of confidence and executive presence, this largely occurs internally and isn’t apparent to others.

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