This juncture in the COVID-19 pandemic marks a milestone moment. If the past six months were about coping with the onslaught of a global pandemic, for most of us, the next six are about re-establishing our teams and our organisations. But this moment is transitory. It is a wafer-thin slice of time that exists between a crisis and a crossroads.
Unfortunately, many leaders have already missed this milestone moment. Eager to make up for lost ground, they have moved at speed past the crossroads and launched headlong into the next phase of work. In haste, these leaders may have neglected to bring their people with them.
As their leaders have moved on, many teams are left feeling anxious and unsure about the future. They want to leverage the gains of lockdown and approach work in a different way now but there is little or no opportunity to do so. They want to understand their priorities for the next six months and be clear about how they will work with their stakeholders.
In a team context, such unspoken gaps come at a cost. It impedes progress – the very progress that a high-speed leader so desperately seeks.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Develop Dynamic Stability
The New York Times columnist, Thomas Friedman, observes that people who want to adapt in an age of acceleration must develop what he calls “dynamic stability”.
Rather than trying to resist an inevitable storm of change, Friedman encourages leaders to “build an eye that moves with the storm, draws energy from it, but creates a platform of dynamic stability within it.”
In turbulent times, this “dynamic stability” is a team’s most potent weapon.
In an earthquake, it is not the quake that causes the damage. Rather, it is the collapse of buildings.
Likewise, in your team it is not just the COVID-19 pandemic that creates the cracks. In order to thrive in this next phase, your team must move flexibly as an interconnected whole.
The bad news? Many teams and leaders are at risk because they will simply not pause to develop this “dynamic stability”.
And the good news? You and your teams can make a better choice.
Make Haste Slowly
To create this dynamic stability, it is critical to pause and to place your people at the heart of the process.
As an adaptable leader, how are you going to create a stable, dynamic platform?
One way to achieve this is to take some time to explore these powerful questions with your teams:
- What are your needs, goals, expectations, roles and responsibilities now?
- How can you harness your strengths to meet stakeholders’ changing demands?
- What have you lost that needs to stay lost?
- What have you found that needs to stay found?
- What works now that may not work in the longer term?
- What do you need from each other and from me to be at your best?
Harness Your Ultimate Competitive Advantage
As Patrick Lencioni asserts, “Not finance. Not strategy. Not technology. It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and so rare.”
For many team members, this crisis has drawn them together, mobilised with surprising vigour and resulted in them supporting each other.
Fail to pause and solidify these gains, and you may destroy the gains your team has made in the past six months. Act in haste, regret at leisure.
Don’t Wait. Create
Andy Gove, former CEO of Intel, reminds us, “Bad companies are destroyed by a crisis. Good companies survive them. Great companies are improved by them.”
Take the time now to pause and reinvigorate your team for the coming months.
To help teams emerge from this crisis stronger than ever, we at HPC have launched ‘R3BOOT Team Accelerator’. It supports teams like yours to reflect, refocus and refresh for the next phase of work.
To learn more about this high-impact, evidence-based programme, click here.