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Some people believe that there's always some one or something that should be blamed for world miseries.
The non-profits and social sector are rife with criticisms of the capitalist economy and government. Yet, they have to work hand-in-hand with the two.
For the conspiracy theorists, there is a global network of villains and ego-maniacal entities, ala the James Bond villains that are planning, hatching their next global destruction ventures.
For the poor and illiterate, it's the rich and ultra-wealthy that are sucking all the resources that they need to survive. And the corrupt government that's feeding this greedy landed gentry.
For the owners, it's the labor unions and their goons and strategies that keep the business from thriving and the government's bribery schemes wrapped up neatly in certain fees for here and there.
For the middle-class tired of pretending that they are more well-off, abhors the poor for creating the conditions of pallor, dirt, and insecurity in many communities. These people are considered lazy, worthless, and can't be saved.
The big business are blaming the environmentalists and climate-change crazies for wrecking their plans and making it harder to conduct business. The auditors are blaming the government for lax regulations. The consumers are blaming the government for run-away inflation for which the energy producers are caught in the quagmire. The masses are suffering and that the world is coming to an end unless climate change is addressed.
The elite, educated ones are blaming the fringe sectors and the fringe sectors are blaming the elite, educated majority.
Do you see where this is going?
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If leaders are scared, they make stupid decisions.
I'm talking about cost-cutting measures in time of pandemic. If you cut everything that costs money, then you don't know what your financial (and organizational too!) values are.
Stewardship is not about being stingy and operating on costs, it's about operating on value.
Anything that involves increasing resilience and building lasting effects on your customers and constituencies should be nurtured and developed, even in climate of distress and uncertainty. Values-based organization do not operate on fear-based calculations, much less allow values creep.
The best leaders in organizations retain and protect their strongest assets, which are inimitable and very hard to reconstruct. In times of stress, these assets work like magic. They provide the rest and bounce factors for staff and customers to thrive and not just survive.
Cut everything that moves and you're cutting your oxygen source.
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Lately in a coaching conversation, I learned that applying a COVID19 lens as an intentional approach to planning, decision-making, and resources allocation is not only safe but strategic.
Given that majority of the world is still battling the third wave, dangerous variants have weakened and collapsed many health care systems in the developing countries, and developed countries have yet to pick up the pieces of their lives and economies- COVID19 will not go away just as it came.
The COVID19 lens should be used beyond the pandemic and the virus transmission. It's about reconstruction, restoration, and healing of societies and economies. It's also about getting back to the root causes that alienate us from our environment, community, and self-sustainability. I heard that those people who recover from COVID19 had after-effects felt for months and years.
These are facts we are grappling today:
How can the whole society recover from mental health issues, depression, and isolation? How can we recover from deaths of family, friends, neighbors, officemates due to COVID19?
How can we recover from suicides of people close to us who died because of COVID19 isolation?
How can we recover our businesses from taking a nose dive due to lockdowns and travel/mobility restrictions?
How can we recover from deaths that are not COVID19 because the health care systems refuse to treat emergency surgeries?
These are not irrecoverable or irreparable but they do leave lasting impacts that will take years to completely undo.
On a positive note, this virus will never be back again. On a more realistic note, we will have to face more diseases, deadlier than this one unless we get better at monitoring, testing, rules and policy enforcements, and cooperation.
How are you operating your organization through the COVID19 lens and beyond? Are you ready for the slow but sure emergence in the horizon?
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What could possibly go wrong?
When vaccines are in short supply while thousands get infected everyday with the new variants overwhelming the health-care system...
When officials implement draconian measures to curb the transmission without due regard of rights, equity, and fairness and apologize with tears afterwards..
When science-backed findings do not get into the policymakers' heads.. or when science is distorted to reflect reality and not the other way around..
When simply going about your ways as if the COVID19 doesn't exists is a form of escape..
Where are the best minds in our country who can help out right now...
Perception is reality.
When the government says that it's under control, it doesn't mean that it's all under their control.
What can possibly go wrong when everyone conforms to the desperation and no one appeals for collective wisdom and an enlightened approach?
In your organization, are you just adhering to the instructions or are you actually listening for what is not being said? Can you make an intelligent analysis and come up with suggestions when others act on the basis of fear?
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Are you a bricoleur or a planner?
Do you look at your fridge and make do with what you have or do you list down what you don't have and have a trip to the grocery?
Do you look at what's already working in your organization and build from your bench strength or you're always looking for some best practice out there and apply it across the board?
Do you have a tendency to conform to the standards of 'doing things right' or your organization create your own good practice consciously?
In resource-scarce and start-from-scratch organizations, bricolage is not just pragmatic but it helps managers and leaders get on with their agenda. They shun the demand to be 'follow the dream' with more inputs, but understand that their paths can lead them to second-best options.
In a perfect environment, the best planners win. In a non-perfect world, the bricoleurs and improvisers get things done and accumulate rapid success with less. Talent, creativity, and improvisation are great combinations in times of crisis and ambiguities.
Know yourself and the connections, networks, knowledge, and resources that you have at your disposal.
Dig in deep and marvel at what you can achieve, now.
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There are two kinds of risks: risks you can take and risks that you can't and shouldn't.
We are prone to face risks everyday.
When we drive to work everyday, we face risks because bad drivers are out in the road too.
When we go to the dentist or massage therapists, we take the necessary risks of getting a bad fill or getting an achy spot.
In any decision, it has its own attendant risks. Risks can be mitigated, can be reduced to mere nuisance or annoyance, and can be completely subverted, that there is no way that it becomes an obstacle or a hindrance to an action.
We take daily precautions in our COVID-19 life nowadays, actually over-precaution-bordering on paranoia and panic.
Organizations must be clear about what risks they can take, risks they can't and shouldn't and risks that are not actually risks-just part of doing business in this new climate. Anything that is described as risks these days are not really risks at all.
It is likely fear.
The sad fact is that many have been prone to close their doors and windows, turn off their lights and cover themselves with blankets. They treat experts as outsiders that can be carriers. I understand that we live in a litigious society and in this pandemic, everyone is a suspect. But the world continues to move forward. If you don't want to do business, just close the shop instead of making double messages.
Where exactly is the danger in remote activities?
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A few weeks now with the lockdown and social distancing, your organization should be gearing up to 'when this is over' scenario.
The Canadian government has expressed that these measures wont be lifted until a vaccine is available for treatments.
It could take a few more weeks, which to me is a good precautionary step and a good way also to express that it would soon be over than later.
Now is the time to look at your mitigation measures and adapt to the recovery and stabilization phase once measures are lifted. Businesses can start operating again, events/conferences can be held, travel bans are lifted, and slowly things will get back to the new normal.
When this thing is over, here are some of the questions you may think about:
1) In these few weeks, what did you find about your organization in terms of coping up, being resilient, and taking leadership? What surprised you the most?
2) What opportunities are you maximizing and sustaining in the new order to become a better organization?
3) What practices, systems, and mentalities need to be discarded in order to give way to the new configuration?
4) What capacities are needed/strengthened to continue your market edge and leadership?
It is reported that there are million job losses in Canada for the past few weeks due to the economic shutdown. There will be more catastrophic impacts to be documented in the next few months down the road. This is not the time to have a 'wait and see' attitude.
You need to 'build back better' by starting now and assuming a clear and well-defined strategic position towards recovery.
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We wake up in the morning.
We get ready for home-based work.
We tell ourselves that this is another week.
We can do good. We can be better.
We can be productive and positive In spite of the difficulties.
We get our acts together, focus on what we can accomplish today.
Today and the next few weeks will be very important to scale down the spread.
We live everyday with the conviction and hope that it will pass too.
We will go back to our lives stronger and more resilient as people.
We create a new pattern, a new way of doing, and a new way of thinking that reflect what we need for the moment.
These new scripts are very important to keep us on track and not slide down to getting stuck.
We can overcome
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This time no one wants to feel isolated especially those who are in business.
Some of your suppliers, partners, and clients are hurting at the moment.
This is the time to reach out and tell them you care, you know that there are shared experiences, and you are there to help.
I have been doing that in all of my community members.
Because number one, you are not working or dealing with an organization, you are dealing with people.
People are scared, afraid, and unable to make sense of what is happening.
Provide that support and leverage your mission and resources to have that extra-customer service that they would need at this time.
During crisis time, it is not ethical to be sleazy and capitalizing on someone's pain.
But you need to be present and make the effort to be relevant with results.
Commiserating is good but working with them towards practical solutions is way better
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How do you manage remote teams and ensure that productivity and quality work are guaranteed?
There many ways to do that:
1. Communicate the outcomes needed to be produced on a weekly basis. Know what each of the staff will be delivering and give them the timeline to accomplish those.
2. Make regular check-ins to see how they are doing. Some would be sick and will be self-isolating and some will not be able to work at all due to childcare issues and other reasons.
3. Get a standby roster of contract staff that you can use in emergency situations. Let me them know that you might need them to complete a certain task, or a project that needs their expertise and skills on a short-term basis.
4. Confine your communication to a few emails per day. Too many communications can make them feel overwhelmed as a single email can have several agenda on it.
5. Create a tier of managers that staff can communicate on a regular basis. Even yourself can fall sick and not be available for days. Have a list of other people to connect with so that information flows smoothly.
6. Empower them to make decisions at their level. Give them permission to make some mistakes as things are fluid and that today could be different from yesterday and the day before. Scheduling can be done online and let people know what's the best time to for the online meet.
7. Take time to celebrate remote staffs' achievement by giving them regular feedback about their work. If they are doing well, let them know. If they are struggling, let them know you are available to support them. Remote work is tough and the first few weeks could be slow crawl for some.
I hope these are helpful. Stay healthy!