In several heartfelt conversations with clients, colleagues and friends, I am hearing a consistent theme:
Let’s not go back.
Let’s not go back to the insanity of working at the expense of everything else in life. Let’s not go back to the notion that more is better. Let’s not go back to delaying the enjoyment of life off until some unknown time in a future that may never come.
In my little slice of the world, managers are checking in with their staff on a daily basis, asking how they and their families are doing, what can be done to support them, and offering a heartfelt word of thanks for their time and talent.
Departments are working in concert with each other, sharing breakthroughs and breakdowns, supporting one another, and uniting behind a common goal as a company.
Customers are being called, not to sell them anything, but just to connect. “Is there anything that you need?”
In our neighborhood, parents are going on mid-day bike rides with their kids, families are having picnics on the front lawn, and everyone is slowing down to not only say hello when out on a walk, but to engage – at a safe distance, of course! How are you? How can I support you? Thank you for being a good friend.
These frequent, often brief touchpoints, are weaving what I hope will be part of a new tapestry of life as we emerge on the other side of this pandemic. If we pay attention and take inspired action, a renaissance is possible after this dark time. If we choose, we can remake our way of life. The future does not have to be a rerun of the past.
It will take vision, leadership, work, and collaboration to create the massive structural change necessary to accomplish this goal. Because we cannot make all things new without addressing core issues of income inequality, racial injustice, and a failed healthcare system, to name but a few. Remaking how want to live, for the betterment of all, is not a checkbox on a task list. This will be a life-long endeavor. But make no mistake, we DO have the power to make all things new.
Where to start? As always, it begins with each of us, individually. Here’s something simple to try out: Move away from the tired cliché of “work-life” balance. It seems to imply that work is not life, and vice-versa. It also seems to imply that some sort of 50-50 equilibrium can be achieved between the two. It’s a recipe for failure. I’ve found it more effective to strive for a harmonic existence between the different ways in which my one life is expressed, at home, at work, and at play. We can’t have an integrated world unless we first do the work ourselves.
Then move on to your teams. Consider these three things during this coming week:
- How can you lead from a place of integration, helping your teams to break down silos?
- How can you inspire your teams to carry forward the good practices that have emerged in the midst of crisis?
- How can you create a vision that invites your teams into a new way of being?
One people. One planet. One opportunity.
Let’s recognize the gift that exists as a result of this pandemic, and make the most of it.