This past spring as the pandemic took hold of individuals and organizations alike, you as leaders were thrown into crisis management mode aka triage. Now 7 months later, the pandemic is still very much upon us. You are finding that the difficult decisions are not yet over, just how you approach them looks different.
In the early stages of the pandemic, decision making and next steps were approached with a triage mindset. As the local economy was frozen in time while employees were sent home to quarantine, leaders scrambled to move to create a virtual workplace, some for the very first time. This became a workforce planning chess game, not knowing how long the economy would be on hold while demand for essential services skyrocketed. Leaders quickly had to assess who is needed and who to furlough or let go, all to manage overhead costs.
But now we know we are in this “unprecedented” state for a while. You have to not only figure out how to “keep the lights on” but now plan for a very different future. Transitioning from a triage to transformation mindset is not easy, especially when the future still feels very much unknown.
Change and transformation require a new kind of energy. How do you tap into creativity – your own and that of your team – to change the overall course of the organization? How do you start thinking about what you are going to be next?
As a leader, this is a time to lead by example and demonstrate skills needed when leading through crisis – fluid thinking and mental agility. This will help put your team members at ease, guide them towards a new future and inspire them to think about what comes next and where you collectively go from here.
It is important to realize that there is no moment in time or switch that flips. The transition from triage to transformation is seamless. Yet it requires intention because you might find yourself stepping back while continuing to lead your team forward.
Final tip: During this time of continued crisis and significant change, build in time to allow yourself to think bigger. This can be especially challenging when leading through crisis. Instead of reacting, pause and plan for contingencies. Consider how you want to react and what you want and need from your team. Planning for the unknown may feel wasteful but it prepares you for what’s ahead, even if you have to pivot from your initial plan. At least you have a place to pivot from as you continue to transform.