I’m sure we are all familiar with the phrase, “never let a good crisis go to waste.” While we smile and may agree with it philosophically, practical application seems less clear.
So let’s be clear.
The biggest mistake leaders can make after COVID-19 is to go back to the way things were.
Think about it, if you are blessed to still be employed, your world has been upended into back-to-back Zoom meetings, less commute time, and in some regards more work-life integration, such as being able to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner with your family (or whoever occupies your abode with you).
So, you may be wondering how you can create positive change when you return to the office.
Here are three tips on how to avoid the biggest mistake possible post-lockdown and ensure positive change:
Dump It - Brain dump it, that is. Look around at what you had to change literally overnight due to COVID-19. Create a list. For example, think of all the paper documents that have now been processed via email or e-voting (also a key time to ask if you really need all of those physical signatures). Identify holes in your ability to serve well remotely (e.g., a chatbot would really improve response times to standard email questions). Review how your communication style changed (or didn’t). Ask yourself what you are particularly pleased about how the shelter-in-place edict was handled and write down why it went so well. Do a brain dump and get it all down so you can do step #2.
Sort and Sift - Look for themes to know where to focus your energy. In the examples outlined in the “Dump it” section, the theme emerged as ways to support remote interactions efficiently. As a side note, this is probably an apropos theme to focus on since epidemiological models predict a second spike of COVID-19, and if any of us are caught off guard by not having improved at least one process before it hits, that’s on us.
Do - Let the rubber hit the road! Don’t spend too much time on the first two steps, as the action is where the benefit exists. This is the time for action, not perfection. It is possible to adjust many things while in motion; take advantage of movement. An important note on this step: don’t try to do this alone. You must work through the doing with your team. If you don’t “do” together you’re guaranteed to fail.
I’m cheering for you! You and your team can be better after COVID-19 because you took time to ensure you don’t go back to the way things were.