We thought we were over the worst and yet we are here again in lockdown around the world, more restrictive than ever before. How are you coping? What does it take to survive and even thrive?
Two Key traits
To be best prepared to survive this pandemic, it’s good to know how well equipped we are as individuals and what may be useful to develop for ourselves and others. Reports such as the 2020 Research Report from Survey Monkey provide some insights. “How to adapt and thrive in times of crisis” indicates two key traits for successfully navigating the coronavirus crisis. Some organisations that have adapted quickly and are even thriving during the crisis are using curiosity and agility to do so.
- Curiosity – to find and pressure-test solutions.
- Agility – to meet the volatility and uncertainty of our current situation with speed and follow-through.
how curious are you?
It’s not new or surprising to learn this, indeed curious and agile people in businesses have been doing well for years. Our experience working with business leaders confirms these results. We often start a leadership development session by exploring what participants believe are the key characteristics or behaviours to be successful in international business. The lists developed nearly always include curiosity – without an interest in how others think, in their context or circumstances, it’s hard to build bridges of understanding and so find novel solutions to problems. The better we are informed, the more we can empathise and build a relationship of trust. You need good relationships to have good business. It’s as simple as that. Or is it?
We need both curiosity and agility.
The pandemic has rocked the foundations of businesses large and small. We believe that relationships are key to survival, with trust placed solidly at the centre. And we also think that in the same way buildings are stress-proofed in earthquake zones by building the foundations with some flex, it is wise to take a like approach to building your business. Agile means setting a clear direction while being open to and prepared for iteration and adaptation. With small steps forward we can build incrementally, striking the balance between fixed and flexible, adapting to and building on whatever emerges. We underline that agile is not just a process but a culture which expects and welcomes change as part of its evolution. It’s a culture with stakeholder collaboration at its heart. In this way trust and collaboration go hand in hand.
when it’s all too much!
Having said all this, there are times when you may feel you cannot bear yet another list of “top traits of successful …” to live up to. Stress levels are high, caused by too little or too much work, financial concerns, the health and wellbeing of those closest to us, renewed lockdown, the lack of any proper break.
As we ramp up again after some days off work over Christmas, we notice that our energies are depleted, and I suspect that this may apply to millions around the world who, with varying degrees of success, have fought valiantly for nearly 12 months now to keep their business/family/partner-ship above water.
Our interest and capacity to be creative or agile is reduced when the struggle to survive seems relentless. Sometimes what is needed more than anything else is not to carrying on doing, but to stop, even momentarily, to take a big breath.
Individually, or collectively ONE BIG BREATH
Breathe in on the count of 5.
Hold for the count of 5.
Breathe out for the count of 5.
Continue for a few more if you can. That’s it.
Rest in the assurance that nothing is forever. That this pandemic too will come to an end. That after winter comes the spring, with growth and renewal. All in good time.
our new year's wish
Our New Year’s wish for you, for us, for the planet, is a big, collective breath that gives space for healing and compassion.
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