Disruption Reflections: 10 Key Takeouts

With Victoria heading into Stage 4 restrictions (and the rest of the world grappling with the likelihood of the ‘second wave’); it is just as pertinent to absorb the reflections we have explored over the last few months. If there is one ‘silver lining’ it is that the ‘power of people’ has been amplified and movements that were once taken for granted may for once be on the verge of change. Whether it be Black Lives Matter or ‘psychological safety’ in the workplace, what has been illuminated is that unless needs are served, people are not going to put up with inequity anymore. In the workplace and society. This was dramatically illustrated by the recent emotive, stirring speech delivered by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. What once may have been seen as ‘disruptive’, will now be seen as one of the finest speeches ever delivered. One that will erode the gendered power imbalance in political, public and personal life. The electrical speech gave ringing voice to the experiences, frustrations, and anger of millions of women and men who have had their days; lives and realities shaped by often abusive, sometimes vulgar expressions of patriarchal power. 

Whilst COVID-19 may lead to short-term economic instability (or worse), the long-term impact may result in ‘humanology’ being more important than technology. ‘Humanocracy’ dismantling ‘bureaucracy’.

How would you feel at work if . . . 

  • You had the right to design your own job?
  • You worked for a company that fights for a cause worth fighting for?
  • Your team was free to set its own goals and define its own methods?
  • You were encouraged to grow your skills and take on new challenges?
  • Your workmates felt more like family than colleagues?
  • You felt trusted in every situation to use your best judgment?
  • You were accountable to your colleagues rather than a boss?
  • You didn’t have to waste time sucking up or playing political games?
  • You had the chance to help shape the strategy and direction of your organization?
  • Your influence and compensation depended on your abilities and not your rank?
  • How amazing would it be if all these things were true where you work?

How amazing would it be if all these things were true where you work?

Humanity Matters 

For now, let’s be clear on one thing: bureaucracy must die. We can no longer afford its pernicious side effects. As humankind’s most deeply entrenched social technology, it will be hard to uproot, but that’s OK. And with our workplace being disrupted we have a chance. You were put on this earth to do something significant, heroic even, and what could be more heroic than creating, at long last, organizations that are fully human? 

Key Questions: 

  • Are there things in your workplace that were considered mandatory pre COVID that now can be eliminated?
  • Do the values that define how your organization works reflect the values proposition around which it competes?
  • If your company went out of business tomorrow, who would miss you and why?

For a deeper look into this reflection, please refer to the following blog: Humanity Matters

Causes Matter

Whilst the economy is suffering and ‘business as usual’ (BAU) activity is organisation’s main focus; 
it is galvanizing to know how well we can band together when we are fighting for a common cause. We’ve all seen these past few months how motivating and bonding a common enemy is. 
And how it can compel us to undertake activity previously unforeseen. Working from home, staying at home, and supporting essential workers and essential functions has become a mission all of us have gotten behind. But when this enemy doesn’t threaten us anymore, it is critical that we don’t go back to the old, tired tactic of positioning ourself against competitors. Instead motivate your people by finding a new purpose worth fighting for. The companies that get ahead will be the ones who conduct BAU and provide a crusade for employees to join. 

Key Questions: 

  • What cause can you rally the troops behind?
  • What ideas is your company fighting for?
  • Can you develop a definition of success that allows you to stand apart from the competition and inspires others to stand with you? 

For a deeper look into this reflection, please refer to the following blog: Causes Matter

Leadership Matters 

If you straw polled many executives about the qualities they would like a leader to exude in times of crisis it would be big, bold, charismatic and connected. And male. And many countries have these leaders. And many countries are definitely feeling the effects of these ‘unprecedented’ times. Three countries that have weathered the storm better than most have been Taiwan, New Zealand and Germany. All led by women. Coincidence? Maybe there are differences in how we lead in peacetime and in wartime. 

Key Questions: 

  • What does it take to be a peacetime leader? A wartime leader?
  • Which is tougher? And can the same person be effective in both roles?
  • Can you explain, clearly and compellingly, why what you do matters and how you expect to win?

For a deeper look into this reflection, please refer to the following blog: Leadership Matters

Adaptability Matters

We can dream of organisations where the fearless renegades always trump the fearful reactionaries, where the constituency for the future always outguns the constituency for the past. We can dream of organisations where the drama of renewal occurs without the trauma of the turnaround. And, if we’re daring and inventive and determined, we can build these organisations. That’s what matters now. 

Key Questions: 

  • Are you prepared to rethink the conventions of success in your field and the logic of your success as a leader?
  • Are you learning as fast as the world is changing?
  • Are you nimble as change itself?

For a deeper look into this reflection, please refer to the following blog: Adaptability Matters

Communication Matters

Rita Men, Associate Professor of Public Relations, University of Florida, explained in The Conversation five ways in which CEOs should communicate with their workers during coronavirus:

1. Be transparent

2. Convey authenticity

3. Show empathy

4. Put people first

5. Demonstrate optimism. 

Key Questions:

  • Which leaders and businesses have you observed communicating well during the COVID-19 crisis? Why have they impressed you?
  • Are your communications emulating the five tenants above?
  • Are you consistent in your commitment to change?

For a deeper look into this reflection, please refer to the following blog: Communication Matters

Small Wins Matter

There is a difference between caring deeply and moving recklessly, between facing up to dire problems and taking unwise risks. Amidst this big crisis, leaders should give themselves permission to focus on the power of small wins. 

Key Questions: 

  • What small wins can you identify that will give your team momentum?
  • Do you see opportunities the competition doesn’t see?
  • Do you have new ideas about where to look for new ideas? 

For a deeper look into this reflection, please refer to the following blog: Small Wins Matter

Rules Matter 

To build something distinctive in the marketplace, you first have to build something distinctive in the workplace. It also speaks to the role of “shocking rules” as a building block of a powerful culture. In other words, if you’re doing things at your company that outsiders can’t quite understand, you may just be doing it right. 

Key Questions: 

  • What is one ‘shocking rule’ that will galvanise your team?
  • Are your employees clear on what is expected of them?
  • Are you getting the best contributions from the most people? 

For a deeper look into this reflection, please refer to the following blog: Rules Matter

Gestures Matter

Small gestures—whether signage or speech, body language or handwritten messages—can send big signals about who we are, what we care about, and why we do what we do. Don’t let technology overwhelm your humanity. This is also the case for all those small businesses that are vulnerable in this time of crisis. 

Key Questions: 

  • What personal touch could be your leadership signature?
  • Do you communicate your ‘secret sauce’?
  • Is your design for the workplace as distinctive as your designs on the marketplace? 

For a deeper look into this reflection, please refer to the following blog: Small Gestures Matter

Kindness Matters

In a world being reshaped by this pandemic, what customers and colleagues truly crave is a deeper and more authentic sense of connection. So many of us spend so much of our time figuring out how to be more clever—nifty products and services, slick mobile apps, new uses of social media. It’s great; we’d urge everyone to get with the program. But it’s also worth remembering, that it’s more important to
be kind than to be clever. 

Key Questions: 

  • What are ways you can continually stay connected to your workforce?
  • Are you as determined to stay interested as to be interesting?
  • Are you prepared to share the rewards of success with all those who had a hand in achieving it? 

For a deeper look into this reflection, please refer to the following blog: Kindness Matters

Don’t be afraid to trust that bad times can bring out the best in your company — and in you. 

Key Questions: 

  • What flexible arrangements can we put in place post COVID-19?
  • Do you pay as much attention to psychology and emotion as you do to technology and efficiency?
  • Are you as humble as you are hungry?

For a deeper look into this reflection, please refer to the following blog: Trust Matters

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