COVID’s call for change: The agile journey to your future

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant. — Robert Louis Stevenson

When humans are confronted with fearful circumstances—physical, emotional or existential—we have three possible spontaneous reactions: freeze, fight or flight—FFF. COVID-19 has brought out some of each of those responses in most of us. Some lucky folks have had nothing but success through this period. People in the paper goods world (why do we all want a three-month supply of toilet paper?), sanitizer, and grocery businesses are doing disproportionately well. Many more are simply trying to make our lives work amid having the kids at home, worrying about our extended families and getting stir crazy.It’s enough to cause us to fall into our personal FFF stress trap. It can be so hard to know what to do, how to do it, what the future will look like. We seem to have little choice, but we actually do!

Change has been a constant throughout history. Technology has sped up change and brought significant progress at every turn. Think about how harnessing fire must have transformed humankind with warmth, light and cooking. Or the wheel—we could transport ourselves and our belongings, grind our grains, widen our horizons, amazingly. The printing press changed the world and the sharing of information. Then there’s the telegraph, radio, telephone, electricity.  They all brought wonderment and improvement. They also brought disruption and fear. Fire destroys, wheels bring interlopers to our unreachable lands.

Digital photography killed Kodak. Streaming killed Blockbuster. Netflix started by delivering, but pivoted to streaming. IBM sold typewriters and main frames. Now, it emphasizes Watson and IT services.

COVID-19 has changed our world. We just don’t know exactly how and what it might look like. We do know that working virtually is not going to go away. Why spend the time and money to commute to and from home, when so much can get done remotely? Believe me, this has disrupted my company’s work, totally. Teams need to learn to work as teams without being physically together. We need to learn virtual tools, but no amount of Zoom will replace being in a room together. Waiting for that time of being together to build and bond teams is a vacuum that we cannot allow to stop us. So, we plant seeds. We are doing webinars. We are designing programs differently, so that we can learn, coach and facilitate better in these uncertain times. It’s working differently. Even when times allow us back into the room with our clients, we will have new tools to reach further, faster and with the joy of helping our clients prosper.

What seeds can you plant? How long can you wait? Let’s explore that, together.

Stephen Garber is director of Third Level Ltd. Contact him at 561.752.5505 or sgarber@thirdlevel.com.

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