Envisioning the Way
At Capacity Group, we’re partnering with executives as they take steps in leading their organizations into stage two of the response to Covid-19: the re-envisioning phase. In my recent blog, Disruption = Go, I shared the idea that now is the time to both accelerate change in your organization and start additional changes given the disruption and adaption everyone has recently survived. Now we’re stabilizing a bit in this altered environment and there are important actions leaders must take to move forward with your business and clients to create the future for your organization and associates.
Moving out of crisis and into envisioning requires shifting how you spend your time as top leaders. It also involves purposeful action to engage people in thinking about, ideating and envisioning new ways of operating focused around key priorities.
Why does this matter?
It matters for so many reasons. First and foremost, the leaders I’m talking with, and perhaps those reading this, really care about their community and associates. By leading the shift to re-envisioning and experimenting, you’re investing in the future of the community and your people. Second, the changes from Covid-19 regarding interaction are not disappearing any time soon. As the steward of your firm, leading this work is a vital responsibility. Third, leaders who hone the ability to re-invent themselves and persevere through trying times become better leaders. The research of Warren Bennis and Robert J. Thomas led them to conclude that “one of the most reliable indicators and predictors of true leadership is an individual’s ability to find meaning in negative events and to learn from even the most trying circumstances.” This finding is underscored by the work of many others, including Viktor Frankl and his book “Man’s Search for Meaning” and renowned researcher and author Linda Graham who focuses her work on resilience and how surviving turbulent times creates new strengths and opportunities .
And finally, these are muscles leaders and organizations need to innovate which has been a top priority for many firms in recent years. Now is the time to re-envision how you lead, how you conduct business, and forge new models.
Here are a few things we recommend:
- Revisit the crisis routines you implemented at the beginning of March and figure out the “new normal” version for now. Most likely you need less time on the reactive and tactical side and more time on being proactive and strategic. Make space on your own calendar.
- Learn what made change successful and build on this. You now have confidence in your firm’s ability to quickly adapt when needed so take advantage of this.
- Put strategic dialog time on the calendar for the executive team as well as for the larger leadership This will help shift your focus and reveal opportunities.
- Define your top three to five priorities and envision new possibilities here. Align as a leadership team on key measures and places for experimenting.
- Foster team play by getting people involved around hot washes, anticipating scenarios and what we CAN do. Getting people to think about and envision the future is both empowering and a positive distraction to the anxiety many feel when the future is uncertain.
- Emphasize learning and taking those insights into action through experimentation. This is a fundamental time to re-envision what your core activities and processes look like. Then schedule a follow-up meeting so to learn from experiments.
- Take good care of yourselves. This is not a sprint; we’re now in the marathon of this thing. Take breaks, engage in health routines, and get outside!
It’s essential for leaders and their teams to build new practices and muscles for this altered environment. What are the shifts in both mindset and skillset that you need to create? How are you investing in your own development right now? How are you investing in your team’s capabilities to lead the way?
We’re here to help you take build these capabilities in you and your top leaders.
See “Crucibles of Leadership,” Harvard Business Review, https://hbr.org/2002/09/crucibles-of-leadership#comment-section.
 “Never Allow a Crisis to Go to Waste;” May 21, 2020, https://lindagraham-mft.net/the-new-science-of-post-traumatic-growth/