What we should have Learned from the Pandemic
What we should have Learned from the Pandemic
Undeniably, Covid-19 and it's impact in 2020 and 2021 has changed the world and even changed the actual Change Curve. Unfortunately, the coronavirus hasn't gone away and case numbers still remain too high . At the half way point of 2022 no one could have imagined the ongoing challenges the world is facing, from more uncertainty and horror brought about by the war in Ukraine, to the rising cost of living, mass industrial action, transport chaos, skills shortage, and ongoing supply chain issues. So, as the news continues to be quite negative, here's a reminder of what we can focus on, whether individually or professionally, in order to be better prepared to deal with the ongoing challenges of 2022:
Lesson # 1: Being Agile is Important:
Any company strategies or personal plans need to be flexible, reviewed constantly and, if necessary, changed in plenty of time, then communicated clearly and swiftly. The key is to ensure that all objectives and people are aligned with the strategy, or it will fail.
Lesson # 2: Compassion is Key:
Covid-19 has exacerbated any existing issues in the workplace, whether underlying conflicts, heavy workloads, lack of resource, or already stressed-out employees. Outside work, if someone is dealing with a key life event, such as serious illness, death of a loved one, or relationship break up, then coronavirus has accentuated the pain and hardship: remember that divorce cases rose by 31% in 2020, coincidentally the same figure as the rise in alcohol consumption during the first lockdown! On top of this we now have a war in Europe which is having a devastating impact on millions of our fellow Europeans. Taking some action by donating items to be sent to Poland, or volunteering, or giving to charities can all help as well as make you feel less helpless. Sadly increasing numbers of workers are struggling with their mental health. We have no idea what people are going through as individuals so always #BeKind
Lesson # 3: Practice what you Preach:
I could never have imagined that over the past two years I would be dealing with the most challenging issues to resolve as a Coach, however, it has meant that personally I have had to really draw on all my learning and experience in order to help others. As a leader, a manager, or indeed even as a Coach, you have to lead by example, including not diarising online meetings all day, or emailing team members 24/7. Anyone that follows me on Twitter will know that since the first lockdown I have been trying to get as much fresh air and exercise I can, being very fortunate to be able to work from home with a garden. Health and self-care are more critical now than ever, so ‘put your life jacket on first before helping infants and children!’
Lesson # 4: Deal with the Changes:
As inflation soars, companies are looking to make efficiences, including reducing staff numbers. During restructures or M and As, I always talk about the Change Curve and how important it is to acknowledge how you feel, accept the situation and start to move on to make decisions as quickly as possible. Once people are able to change their attitude to move beyond the blaming phase and start to channel the anger, they are able to create real positive changes. Learning tools and techniques to overcome the anxiety, shock and confusion is really useful to accept what’s happening and to start to move forward. Anyone familiar with the book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ by the late Viktor E. Frankl, who survived the concentration camps of World War 2, will know his most famous quotations, including “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” And “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
Lesson # 5: Be Thankful:
By now, most of us have either had Covid-19, may be suffering from Long Covid, and know someone who has sadly passed away from the virus, or tragically from a disease, which was not detected due to routine scans being cancelled. If you don’t have a faith, learning to live in the present moment, really appreciating and being thankful for what you do have today, as opposed to what you don’t have, can help you cope with all the bad news and distress. Watching the horrors of the war unfold in Ukraine is making people put their relatively insignificant problems into context.
Lesson # 6: Develop your Resilience:
If you talk to your grandparents or those who survived the second world war, they will tell you of all the suffering, but they will also talk about their community spirit, strength and collaboration. And of course, the war did finally end after six long, hard years. For those businesses that managed to weather the last recession in 2009, they mention how they dug deep and bounced back. Over the past two years, I have seen the roller coaster of emotions of people who have lost loved ones and/or lost their job. The key skill being developed over the past two years is Resilience and we will need to continue to develop this in 2022 so that we can manage more Change, Pressure, Uncertainty, and Stress in order to be able to bounce back from future set-backs and bad news. Again, as Viktor E. Frankl wrote: ‘Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.’ Look out for more on this in my eBook on Resilience.
Lesson # 7: Find your Purpose:
Over the past two years as holidays and events have been cancelled due to the pandemic, we have often been left with more time to reflect on our lives, jobs, and habits. Those who have a sense of purpose in their lives or are fortunate to have a fulfilling role are finding the current challenges easier to cope with. To find your ‘Why’ you need to think of the reason you are on this planet, whether it’s to do good, contribute to a greener future, assist clients in getting better deals, or to help out at a charity, for example. As Viktor E. Frankl also wrote: “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”
Lesson # 8: No one is an Island and Collaboration is King:
It doesn't matter if you're a CEO, who is feeling isolated dealing with the current crises and needs an objective sounding board from their Coach/Mentor, or if you're a SME Business Owner, or just not in a relationship, the coronavirus has taught us that we have to rely on support networks and ensure we have trustworthy suppliers and partnerships, who will deliver what they promise, especially during the hard times.
Lesson # 9: Hang on to Hope:
Aside from all the challenges over the past two years, I have been fortunate to be able to work with my Executive Coaching and Mentoring clients remotely in order to help resolve some major issues. Coaching via video calls means that I am able to support clients in many more countries from Australia via Asia, the Middle East and Europe across to the US. Of course Coaching online has massively reduced my carbon footprint and freed up more time. I’ve also managed to assist my Outplacement clients find new jobs and have been proud to see my Career Coaching clients be promoted or reskill to change roles. And I am privileged to have been able to assist clients cope better with all the ongoing challenges during Resilience Coaching. Thankfully, amidst all the trauma, there have been many happy outcomes. We have to have hope that situations will improve.
As we enter the second half of 2022 we are witnessing more volatile, complex, uncertain and unprecedented times. So, again it's important to identify where you and your team are on the Change Curve and to control what you can control. It's key to take some positive action and keep building your Resilience.
‘Jill has the amazing ability to listen intently as well as patiently to any outpourings; then she summarises the key themes or issues back to you in a clear non-judgemental way with deep insights and feedback; Jill then gives you practical tools and techniques to address issues in an effective and timely manner. I feel like a new person!’ Head of Department
Stay positive, stay safe!
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