Are You Building Back Better After The Pandemic?

While the ravages of the pandemic have yet to subside entirely, many businesses, local authorities, and community organisations have already begun to look to the future. 

That view remains uncertain, as the full extent of the COVID-19 impact is not yet known, yet building back is necessary. But can you build back better than before, and what elements might you focus on to do just that? 

What is your context? 

But what does building back better mean – for you, your team, and your organisation? 

Perhaps begin your exploration of that notion here. 

  1. Many have responded to the crisis dynamically and achieved amazing things. How have you learned from those breakthroughs? 
  2. However, things are still chaotic and confusing and may remain so for some time yet. How do you make sense of things right now and in the future? 
  3. What are the essential elements that need rebuilding? How do you prepare for a real reboot in the days after the crisis? 

Hopefully, these three scenarios will begin a journey of learning that lends itself to a brighter future and better outcomes.  

However, I would also advocate a specific focus now on the empowerment of your team. 

Why empowering your team? 

In my experience, empowerment has always happened incrementally. The reason is simple – it takes significant effort to destroy layers of traditional, outdated management practice.  

The pandemic did that for many businesses in a matter of months, if not weeks. That created a fantastic opportunity to refresh, renew and rebuild. 

It also brought to the fore a powerful driver for a revitalized vision, closer alignment with new values, and the need for more open and honest communication and power-sharing.  

As one client example, the rapid and mass dispersal of its workforce of eighty staff to previously unused remote working practices changed the company's culture overnight. 

It also created a backcloth for those with courage, resilience, and patience, who applied time, diligence, and effort to new ways of working and had the energy, enthusiasm, and determination to follow them through. 

Retaining and further harnessing that dynamism is crucial for the company as it now looks to return to a blended working approach  - part office, part remote. 

Is there a route map? 

My view to my client is that business need should drive their thinking and actions. What is it that the business truly needs? 

Is a return to 80:20 or 60:40 working a control objective or a practical aid to the company's smooth, productive and profitable running? Is it about building team cohesion and coherence or knowing what your workers are doing? 

Isn't it time to move on and harness the true power of your team? 

My blueprint for great empowerment 

While many suggestions abound about becoming an empowering leader, I have successfully employed these seven steps throughout the past twenty or so years.  

I garnered them from Valerie Stewart's book, The David Solution: How to Reclaim Power and Liberate Your Organisation, which I read when studying for my Masters in Manager and Organisational Development in the early 1990s. 

Starting with a small group of your key people, 

  1. Show a compelling vision – it will be borne out of the chaos and confusion of recent months and may be distinctly different to what went before it. 
  2. Educate your group to more deeply embed new values arising from the chaos of the pandemic. 
  3. Prove your empowering leadership role by modeling those values and leading by example. 
  4. Give honest answers when people question the values. 
  5. Check out the reality of your approach by encouraging honest feedback. If you don't dare to ask, find that courage. If you don't ask, you won't know, and assumptions can often be fatal. 
  6. Make necessary adjustments based on that feedback. Feedback and action afterwards are implicit in my head. 
  7. Once you are sure that the initial group feels and behaves in an empowered way, move onto another small group and repeat the approach. 

I wish you well in trying out this approach, and I would be delighted to hear your feedback and have a further meaningful conversation. 

Twitter feed is not available at the moment.