Friday September 18, 2020
That doesn’t read COVID vaccine or COVID antibodies for a reason. This isn’t about medicine.
An antidote isn’t something given to prevent a disease or something built up in an immune system in reaction to a disease. An antidote is given to neutralize a poison; to counteract.
Not minimizing COVID here. I may have had it in February when I was diagnosed with pneumonia. I’ve known people who had mild cases, and I’ve known people who have been intubated and in the ICU for weeks. It’s a real thing.
My issue isn’t the disease… it’s all the stuff that is impacting society because of it or reactions to it, such as polarization, politicalization, suspicion, conspiracy theories, unintended consequences of hopefully well-intentioned people, fear, job loss, business failures, layoffs, bankruptcies, Karens...I could go on.
These are the poisons that can mess up your workplace. Your organization needs an antidote. You’re it.
To be effective at countering the impacts of all these poisons in your workplace you get to:
- Be Visionary. People expect leaders to be just that - even when things are out of control, even when it’s difficult to see a way forward. A mark of a leader isn’t only one who gets people to follow, but one who can help others see where things are going.
- Navigate the Detour. When you’re driving North and you hit a road closure due to construction, you get to take a detour. With a right turn, you’re now heading East. The view is different. It may ultimately return when the detour takes you North again. You may also get to head West before going North. Where I live on the front range of Colorado, those views are much different. A detour can make what you see ahead look like the Rockies or Kansas. We’re in a detour. You get to navigate it.
- Communicate. Vision can change. When your business, the general economy, regulations, or reactions mix things up on you, your vision may have to change for a time. A detour may not mean you won’t ever reach the vision of the destination you saw, but the picture may change some for a while. As a leader, you get to help people see how it’s changed, why it’s changed, and how it will go from there. You get to help them see that you know how to lead through a detour. More communication is necessary in times like these.
- Know Your Route. It’s not just about vision. You’ve got to figure out your route and you have to be able to communicate that route so that others have confidence that you can navigate in uncertain times. There is no roadmap. There is no GPS. You get to be the scout, the guide and the leader. The sooner you figure out the route you take, the more confidence you’ll instill in those following your lead.
- Inspire. People expect leaders to be inspiring - to encourage, which literally means to give courage to. Your people need that...they surely do not get it from news sources. Your people need you, your conviction, your wherewithal, your passion. They don’t need or want hype. They need confidence that the path you lead them on is worth going on, even if it means sacrifice.
- Cultivate Your Culture. Just as the cultivation process for a garden or a farm looks different in different seasons, how you emphasize your culture in this season will look different than it would have in the last one. A farmer doesn’t plow all year long. It’s a season. So is harvest. This is a different season with different work to do in order to get the results you want. You could compare 2020 to one of those unseasonal early snows. Depending on what you’re cultivating, you may need to cover and protect, or shake a few branches.
Not many people would categorize 2020 as particularly fun. But this is where stories of resilience, heroics, the overcoming of obstacles, and turning difficult circumstances into an opportunity. 2020 will become part of the shared history that defines your culture for future generations of your team. Take advantage of it and lead. Be the antidote.
At Open Door, we believe that your organizational culture - whether it’s formed by intention or default - drives everything. We help you cultivate a culture that can carry the vision that's worth pouring your life into.