May 29, 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 Five is an invitation to look at how we
make meaning and how we re-emerge as a collective. I was curious
about what we chose to embrace and reflect on as we
experience Covid-19 & what we can generatively create with
grace and gratitude.
Podcast episode summary: To answer these and
several more questions I interviewed John Baldoni, John McCusker
and Richard Boston. The conversation spoke to the very real
uncertainty and grief that exists in society and the huge
variability that is evident in terms of how people are responding.
The panel spoke about societies polarities, the swift change in
orientation to value people and connection and the many assumptions
around organisational life that are being questioned. The pause had
put a lot into perspective and the panel left the conversation
being hopeful that as a resilient species we will figure our way
out and hopefully make some meaningful changes to the way we relate
Points made through the episode:
- Enormous focus and engagement is evidenced in organisational
- Witness to huge variability and different phases people are at
with respect to Covid-19
- Wide array of emotions from panic initially to overwhelm to
expediency and focus to now hope and encouragement
- “Nobody knows anything” a great deal of grief being witnessed
in the world-the question is what next?
- The difference between business and life has been collapsed. We
are allowed to show up as real humans. This is an incredible time
to reflect, do some self-discovery and be inquiring of self and
- Important that the tone from the top echoes need for compassion
and understanding to know that people are in complicated and
difficult situations dealing with family life and role expectations
of an order that is unprecedented.
- Important that businesses look after the physical and mental
needs of their people and the business will follow. This message
has been communicated before, but it is now real.
- Huge amount of pressure on employees right now and the imposter
syndrome if it existed is now exaggerated. Leaders need to lead
with Grace, Generosity, Respect, Action, Compassion and Energy
- Leaders cannot project fear , but they can show concern
- Two strong values are emerging in corporate life include
Gratitude and Goodness
- Assumptions about team life and organisational life are being
questioned. Can we continue to be more questioning with our
- We need to invent new normal and we do not know how long this
pandemic will last creating considerable ambiguity.
- Our mortality is being questioned.
- We are in the process of rehumanising our workplaces putting
purpose and empathy centre stage.
- Purpose or our higher level purpose is now front and centre.
This crisis has shown teams can operate in a very purposeful and
creative manner. In some ways decision making is timelier and team
work more expedient. Shines a light on purpose, our humanity and
need for empathy.
- We cannot make excuses for not knowing we have never known.
Probably only 6/7 possible choices from here. We need to sit down
and start planning and same goes for teams.
- Practice anti-fragility
- This pandemic may be a dress rehearsal for future crisis as
climate change continues. Are we ready to be with this new
- In any uncertainty be with what you can control to square the
circle. Important to act and change if we get things wrong.
Perfection is the enemy
- Sad that it has taken Covid-19 for us to appreciate our
humanity, our connectedness and our frailty
- The panel hopes that leaders and teams will find a way to
collapse societal polarities
- When times are good Profit hides a lot of flaws Covid-19 has
shown us the cracks.
- Virtual is Okay. There is an acceptance that video and
connection virtually is powerful and can remain
- Virtual does not distract from our connection
- Zoom etc is same as physical and in some ways better, we can
focus more and be discerning in how we ask questions and how we
relate. A greater sensitivity is called for over virtual.
- Consider Purpose more often and ask about the purpose of
- We have been reminded of the beauty of nature can we nurture
- The panel left the conversation with a few things they know and
can rely on:
- We are stronger and more resilient than we think
- Trust your teammates for their support
- We will get through this-look internally for resource
- Be mindful of our narrative. Some of the language around
Covid-19 is defensive. Can we be in choice about the story of
recovery and our identity post Covid-19
Resources: the following include the resources
I alluded to in this episode.