Welcome to Insights and Implications!
We hope that you and your families are continuing to stay well during these challenging times. As promised we are increasing the frequency of our newsletters. A lot of news lately is bad news. Yet we know many of you are finding creative ways of doing your jobs and living your lives. In this issue Cheryl Bond shares a story about one team’s progress and what it says about the potential in us all.
Working in the New Normal
In line with the stay-at-home mandate, most of my clients have been working from home. One of the leaders I coach asked me to attend his virtual staff meeting recently. He allowed for screen sharing for data and status presentations but there was no video. I was very curious to see how my client Sam and his team would do. Here’s what happened.
Sam began by asking everyone how they were doing. He took some time with people, asking each of them how they were faring and if they needed anything. A few joked about wanting better office chairs, and there were a couple of technical questions about being able to print from home and being able to retrieve a monitor from work. Sam resisted rushing through these first few moments, letting each person finish their thoughts before moving on.
This is a team in the early stages of working together. Adding the virtual element to their meetings could have presented a challenge. It didn’t seem that way to me. One engineer shared his initial concern about all the changes and challenges facing the team on top of the virus. Then he said he was now optimistic because the team was working together so well.
Others reported similar positive stories. One described how nice it was to work from home and that she was pleasantly surprised by her kids’ ability to be independent learners and take responsibility for their time. One of the functional leaders said his team was making good progress and hadn’t slowed down at all working from home.
One team member shared that he was helping with the child care duties and then he’d get back to work later in the evening. He asked people not to view his late night emails as an expectation for a quick response. He appreciated that others could interpret his behavior differently and he wanted to clarify.
Lots of work transpired as well. Sam modeled strong leadership by making decisions quickly and tabling other topics for separate meetings. He moved the status presentations along, taking action items himself where appropriate. He passed on kudos from the customer and the company leaders.
As I watched, I was struck by the brilliant design of the human mind.
- People are inherently resilient – so are kids.
- Even in challenging circumstances, people can listen, focus, and maintain mental clarity and decisiveness.
- Human connection doesn’t require face-to-face presence – we can feel goodwill and connection no matter the physical circumstances.
- People figure out how to get the job done – even from home.
The program Sam leads is key to this business area’s future success. It’s technically challenging and the customer wants a lot of attention/involvement. Add in the current uncertainty in the world, and you’d think it would be a recipe for disaster. It’s uplifting to see how people can rise to the occasion. That’s the power of the built-in design for success.