Our Better Normal. Keeping the Heart in the Business
Nothing like a global pandemic to obliterate our 'normal' habits and routines overnight. It is pushing even the most flexible and resilient of us right up to our breaking point. And just as we have our new work from home routines and work flows figured out, we will soon be facing a return to work in our offices where we will get to start all over again.
Guess we have creating another NEW normal ahead of us. Or technically would that be creating our NEW NEW normal? I think so.
In any event, all of this got me thinking that it really isn't about a 'new normal' or 'new new normal' anyway; it is about creating an even 'better normal.' Because many of the things we have been forced to learn during this crisis including the new ways we have begun to conduct business and the new caring that we are now showing to ourselves and each other—all are here to stay. As both Winston Churchill and Rahm Emanuel are credited with saying, "One should never let a good crisis go to waste."
And I think that this particular crisis has been a great reminder for me to keep the Heart in the Business. As leaders, our job first and foremost is to truly care about our employees and to nurture their safety and well-being. In the crush of a typical business day, the urgent can push out the important and what is most important right now is our people. But this crisis has shown me the impact of communicating often, of being a bit vulnerable, and checking in with each person to see how they are REALLY doing. It has reminded me of the importance of honoring the 'human' side of our 'human resources'.
One thing that has kept me centered is exploring the vast array of excellent content coming out in right now as so many people are finding their creative writing skill. In fact, I am being bombarded with so much intersting content that I am having a hard time keeping up. That said, I am still honoring one of my 'better normal' habits of listening to one podcast daily and reading at least one business book each week, which has yielded some great tools and new ways of thinking that I am finding incredibly helpful.
So here are some lessons I have learned over the past weeks as I've been 'upskilling' myself about how to lead during this crisis so we can keep our people first. I've included a podcast or book for each theme that I hope you will check out if you wish to explore the topic further.
- Keep Leading with your Heart. Now more than ever we are reminded of the importance of not only asking someone how they are doing, but also actually listening for an answer. This idea of authentically Checking In with others was explored in a recent Radical Candor podcast along with new content on how to lead, collaborate and stay connected with our teams. Like any good athlete or musician, we need to practice 'being human' and caring personally so we can challenge directly. We have never had an opportunity to put that into practice like we have right now. Our recommendation: "Radical Candor Podcast: Leading with Kindness & Clarity during a Crisis."
- Make Bold Decisions Quickly. I never had the privilege of working for John Puckett when I was the SVP of Marketing at Caribou Coffee, but his actions with Punch Pizza once again demonstrate his value-based decision making and people-first orientation. Even before it was mandated by the Governor, he made the bold decision to close Punch Pizza completely to ensure the safety of his employees and customers. His view is that the worse thing in a crisis is to become paralyzed and not make a decision, even when you have to rely on just your gut. Part of their 'better normal' upon re-opening will likely include being closed on Sundays, to continue to support the health and well-being of their staff. Our recommendation: "By All Means Podcast: Check In: Punch Pizza's John Puckett."
- Be an Even Stronger Team Player. Now more than ever we are need our teams strong and productive, which comes from each person being the best team player possible. Building on his successful book called The Five Dysfunctions of Team, Patrick Lencioni's new book is about the three core virtues of strong team members: Humility which is about being humble, having an innate sense of Hunger which is about a strong work ethic and being Smart which isn't brain smart but rather having high emotional intelligence. He explores three categories of people based on these virtues: The Accidental Mess Maker, the Lovable Slacker and the Skillful Poliitican. Definitely worth a read. My recommendation: Patrick Lencioni's new book: The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate The Three Essential Virtues.
Until then, take good care.