May 15, 2020
Introduction: Covid-19 struck like a
thunderbolt and has thrown the world upside down. Many are still
reeling as we grapple to right side for a new order. All of us have
been forced to wake to a new reality, to pause and immediately
assume a virtual reality for most of the population. Teams have
been beset too. Episode three is an invitation to look at how teams
can use this big pause to disrupt our patterns of thinking &
working, the use of time and space, real-estate and
technology to innovate and to build structures to support social
cohesion through eco-systems.
Podcast episode summary: I spoke with Sari Van
Poelje, Jennifer Britton and Fin Goulding. We spoke about what it
means to be virtual, how to adjust for a new “abnormal” and the
mindset shifts required to remerge on a yet uncertain other
side. All of the speakers spoke about possibility and the
opportunity this pause affords us. Many questions were posed and
answered in a rich conversation that spoke to some meta concepts
and some practical takeaways for teams. The question became how we
can let go the old, grieve appropriately and embrace the new. This
has ramifications for Leadership, how we live and work and how we
connect across boundaries and how we think of work. This pause like
many other conversations is reminding people of our humanity and of
what is important.
Points made through the episode:
- In answer to the question “how are you feeling” the guests
almost equivocally responded positively sharing that in their
worlds they have been operating virtually and using agile for
years. The physical threat of Covid-19 is for sure scary
- All have welcomed the time out to pause, reflect and to
consider their purpose.
- The crisis has brought many people together in a knowing like
- Remote does not mean disconnected. Technology allows for us to
- Virtual is imperative. Hopefully people can continue to get
comfortable in their home lives to rework how they work- we are
living a paradigm shift.
- Covid-19 has asked us to acknowledge our interdependence. Need
to remember to bring in the human dimension to our conversations on
zoom etc. Sari shared her ideas on bringing Yoga and DJs to
punctuate her trainings. Other ways of socially engaging were
- Curiously meeting online has some positive benefits. People are
more pointed, judicious with their time and careful to listen.
There is a skill to facilitating and convening online.
- Use the technology creatively and strike a balance between the
visual, auditory and full meeting space to breakout rooms.
- Leaders are not coping well in this transition. An old model of
leading is being imposed on a new platform. The Leader as coach is
required. We as coaches have to support leaders to lean into this
way of working
- Similarly, we need to support leaders to deal in the emotional
realm & to understand the usefulness of emotional expression
- People are ready for agile. Much confusion abounds about Agile
it is often seen as belonging to the world of tech. Sari explained
that it is not a mindset but a way of structuring business.
- We are experiencing various shifts simultaneously, from the
physical boundaries to the virtual unbounded, from the global to
local, from hierarchical to the eco-system.
- Leadership is needed with Agile. Leadership needs to embrace
interdependence and accept the accountability for stuff is often
deeper in the organisation.
- Businesses need to invest to reconsider the Leadership
imperative, to strategize ,maybe not for the long term but for the
immediate term and to learn how to pivot.
- Leaders need to comfortable being disruptors.
- Collaboration is a word that is easy to say much less easy to
practice. We as coaches have a role to play to help leaders and
teams collaborate, thinking differently and accepting trade
- The work/home dynamic needs to be re-evaluated and supported.
Time and the use of space will be re-imagined.
- Perhaps things have to be conceived of much more simply and
equitably. We have to be able to cope on an
individua/family/community level as we share our humanity and our
- Conversations around Brexit for example have stopped. How will
Europe look when we re-emerge?
- The panel shared some practical tips to close the podcast.
- Leverage the tools available to allow relations as well as
- Practice and get practiced having efficient meetings this is a
- Take time to pause, reset and consider what is working and what
can be let go
- Honesty, integrity and a degree of psychological safety will be
needed to speak up and voice what is not working
- Learn new skills online
- A team is a musical instrument, it needs to be played and
tuned. The need for retrospectives is even more pronounced
- People need to establish new routines -and be allowed to do
- Every crisis brings opportunity -use this one to go for new
- Consider this new reality and ask yourself the question -what
can I offer
- Focus on what is important and how you can contribute to
- Have the varying and various conversations the path will reveal
- Be willing to reinvent yourself.
Quote: “There is the past and there is the future we have
only two choices, Vanilla or Chocolate- the future, as chocolate
holds possibility” Sari Van Poelje
“A team is like a musical instrument; it has to
be played and tuned” Fin Goulding
“rapid experimentation and learning needed right now”Jennifer
Resources: the following include the resources
I alluded to in this episode.
- Jennifer Britton: Effective Virtual Conversations
- Jennifer Britton: Remote Pathways Podcast
- Jennifer Britton: potentialsrealized.com
- Fin Goulding: Flow, 12 steps to Flow
- Fin Goulding: flow-academy.org
- Sari Van Poelje: Back to basics Executive Coaching Series-
- Soon to be published: Agile Innovation Business &
Sari Van Poelje: www.intactacademy.com