New NormalManley Hopkinson
There is a great deal of discourse on how moving forward we need to be more compassionate and lead with empathy. Since the publication of my book in 2014 I have created compassionate cultures in many organisations. Here are a few things to think about as we move into the “new normal”.
One thing is for sure, the next normal will be nothing like the one just gone, and I sincerely hope that will be the case! Some of the changes in working practices will include more remote working; the office will still exist and has a vital role to play, but in an evolved way. We have been forced to review our complete supply chain to find alternative methods of delivering products and services, and companies have found new ways to continue training, developing and investing in their teams.
The new leadership will need to focus on;
To allow these flexible working practices we need greater clarity; being busy in a reactive sense can no longer work. Leaders will need to provide much greater clarity on specific outcomes and move from activity focus to outcome focus – which is where we should be anyway!
The time to build relationships is when we are face-to-face. Bring together the model of Action-Centred Leadership by John Adair (Task-Team-Individual) and the work of Albert Mehrabian on the emotional context of communication (55% visual) and as a Compassionate Leader we will make specific time to drop task and focus on team and individual – which is what we always should have done!
Transferring traditional, meeting and conferencing methods direct to remote does not work – full stop! Creating aligned understanding that enables action and decisions will need us to stop using long PowerPoint focused information sharing.
A Compassionate Leader knows that, and will create a culture of awareness and discipline with short, focused sessions using the Pomodoro technique with information pre-share – a much more efficient use of time.
We need to get away from the concepts of certainty and uncertainty – there never has been and there never will be certainty. Our communications and culture must be to focus on purpose, resilience, agility, flexibility, innovation and embracing uncertainty as an opportunity to grow – a much more positive and exciting way to think.
The source for organisational productivity is individual and collective commitment. Invest in your people, all of them; in their growth and development as humans. Prove to them you care, and create a culture of compassion and purpose and trust.
It will take leadership courage to do what we know we need to do and not just from an activity perspective but also in how human we become. We hear much about authenticity and vulnerability and the need to create deeper and more human connections. I prefer the word courage. Let us be courageous in our actions and in our relationships
We need a much better measure than just GDP. Just to base a nation’s success on its productive outcome is missing what life is all about. What about meaning? Purpose? Well-being? Happiness? Do they mean nothing? We can ask for no more than contentment and we should ask for no less too
Let’s challenge the commute and encourage travel only when it really is needed; stop wasting time on the road – don’t rush back to 9-5 (7-7 more like). Instead let us enable more flexible working – we always hated the rush-hour traffic jams, crowded trains and wasted time. Not to mention the devastating effect on our planet. We have realised that video conferencing is more powerful than we thought, if done correctly. We now also know that we can trust our people to work remotely, from home or at different times of the day and still be productive.
And finally, the path is through Compassionate Leadership
Compassion is “understanding with positive action” and compassionate leadership is “securing the best for all”. Get this bit right and the outcome is commitment, and once you have commitment you have engagement, collaboration, growth, resilience, innovation, motivation, well-being, happiness, greater productivity and performance. Now that’s more like it!
Deep in our hearts, we know that all of the above is how we always wanted to work, but did not quite have the courage to move toward it. Now we have been given an extraordinary opportunity to step into a “new normal” and thrive.