Whether this novel Coronavirus is regarded as a cause of, a culmination of or a catalyst to the disruption it has brought to our lives, it is remarkable in many ways. First, it has highlighted how interconnected we truly are—to a point that is almost impossible to disentangle. From the wildfire-like spread from a small market in Wuhan to the re-emergence in New Zealand, we can no longer act like our communities are isolated from global events. Second, it’s placed a floodlight on leadership. The reaction and interaction of our leaders at every level will be scrutinized for years to come—and no single blog could do the analysis justice. One thing that is clear, however, is that egos in a crisis are destructive. But the silver lining, and the focus of this blog, is the undeniable human ability to “pivot”—to change our outputs, structures and processes to meet the needs of a new challenge.
JMReid Group Blog
We don’t actually know if your CEO hates you, but we do what frustrates CEOs. CEOs know that In business, you either get reasons, or you get results. A culture of good reasons quickly becomes a culture of low accountability.
Good cooking is like good learning in that both are a journey of simple-complex-simple. That’s part of our philosophy and the philosophy behind New York Times best-selling author and celebrated chef Samin Nosrat’s culinary approach. “Whether you’ve never picked up a knife or you’re an accomplished chef, there are only four basic factors that determine how good your food will taste,” Nosrat explains. “Salt, which enhances flavor; fat, which amplifies flavor and makes appealing textures possible; acid, which brightens and balances; and heat, which ultimately determines the texture of food.”
One of the most common things I hear from leaders working on ways they can be more effective is, “The problem is, the levels above me don’t work in this way. It’s very hard to implement these behaviors when the leaders at the top aren’t behaving this way.”
When most employees hear the word “engagement” they may immediately think of one of those onerous employee engagement surveys. The irony of these surveys is that they are typically wildly unengaging. In addition, despite employees completing the survey, there is often little movement in overall employee engagement year after year.
It was nice to see a playful kitten with the spirit of Curious George on the cover of The Harvard Business Review about a year ago. My colleagues and I have long touted “curiosity.” From my perspective, curiosity is critical. It’s not just the backbone of learning as an adult, it’s the backbone of being an interesting adult. Evidence based research is showing the importance of curiosity as a trait in those entering the workforce. It fosters agility and the ability to adapt in our constantly changing, increasingly complex world.
There’s a great article published by The Atlantic in 2017 that talks about the “why” of cooking. John Pinsker suggests that even though recipes are a wonderfully effective way to approximate a dish, it’s a shame that they’ve become the standard way of learning to cook. “Recipes, for all their precision and completeness, are poor teachers. They tell you what to do, but they rarely tell you why to do it.” Recipes are the science, but they fail to capture the human imagination or artistry of cooking.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed much about who we are, our resources, our strengths and limitations. We will be dissecting our responses for years to come and hopefully, doing some profound “lessons learned” analysis nationally and globally. Many of us are reflecting on what our reactions, individually and collectively, have exposed thus far. I’ve observed two things in our everyday lives that have been magnified by this crisis: how we receive and interpret data; and, the role empathy plays in decision making.
It’s clearer now, perhaps more than ever, that traditional training is ineffective. The traditional training approach is – write a book, start a training company, build learning that considers the model is the answer and then require participants to sit, listen and absorb the trainer’s wisdom. This approach does a disservice to the experience and skills learners bring to the table.
I was at a party this weekend and a gentleman complimented me on my multi-tasking skills. His compliment stemmed from the fact that I referred to an obscure fact he’d mentioned several moments ago, while presently focused on whether I should help the hosts pass food around. Also, from his belief that women are better multi-taskers.