Monday, June 15, 2020

How Do We Live With Rigour In A Time of Pandemic? (Part 1)

Caveat: These opinions are entirely my own, and I share my perspectives with those with a sense of optimism and adventure. If we can't be hopeful, what's the point?

Over the weeks, I have been collecting perspectives from senior managers, entrepreneurs, and employees. The common thread is: Everyone is struggling in their own way and braving their private battles. We are faced with threats to our way of life, both work-wise and leisure-wise. The disruptions and chaos that has ensued may lead many to and review and revise the way we think. Here are three key areas to ponder over, and we will go into detail, shortly.

1) Working From Home (WFH): This is inevitable, and the flexibility of working one-day-weekly from home has expanded into a lengthy period of home-based work. This is no different where educators have to, occasionally, teach from their homes via webinars, and the like. WFH may be the ‘New Norm’ as we have to figure out how we can work best in-separation. In my interviews, many managers believe that their staff are, probably, working more productively in this situation. There seems to be more focus and concentration when employees are at their desk, whether conducting a project meeting, or attending an online workshop. When you exclude traveling time to/from work, and ‘water-cooler conversations’, the working day is better spent.

2) Competencies and Skill-sets: It would be opportune to begin planning strategically (firstly for yourself, then for your team) what your career options are. How much of your Job Description and Job Scope will change? Which skills may become obsolete? Which skills will be valued more? Which new skills will you need to adopt? If your profession and vocation runs the risk of becoming obsolete, or easily replaceable with digitalisation then which parallel professions do your current abilities and capabilities allow you to migrate to? If you were, unfortunately, subject to furlough and were laid off, what can you do to pitch yourself for your next job opportunties? Rest assured that if you have specific and endearing skills and are unafraid to venture into new pastures, you may shorten your incubation time before your next employ. Skills like selling, influencing, instructing, relationship, counseling, communication (reading, writing and mathematics, however up-sized and expanded) and negotiating, may still augur well for most industries and businesses. Now, if you are open to the ‘dirtiest and deadliest’ types of work, these will require specific training and an aptitude/appetite for such labour. You will also need to ‘fit’, and ‘fit-for-duty’.

3) Activating Your Values: What does this mean? You, often-times, hear the need to be resilient, enduring, agile, and creative. What do these values entail? Which knowledge, skills, behaviors and mindsets will you need to develop to keep you valued as an employee? Our DNA – core values – when aligned with a company’s can open doors of opportunity for us. In relationships, we need to build mutual trust and respect. We need to develop the tacit experiences and wisdom to work in/with teams? Our ability to manage conflict, confusion, distortions of the important messages, and rising expectations are points of consideration. Applying your knowledge is more valuable than gathering data and information. Almost anyone with access to the Internet can source information, but connecting to sources and resources require more than touching the keypad. We will need to remain connected with customers, partners, and collaborators and be able to appreciate the myriad ‘touch points’ that connect us with purpose and poise towards our collective future.  

I leave you with these considerations. Meanwhile, stay safe, be healthy, and decide to be diligent and discerning.