We’ve been navigating the age of VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) for some time now, but the climate of 2020 has magnified these elements in business and daily life with great force. Leadership strategist Jeanne Meister recently said in a Forbes article that, “The Covid-19 coronavirus is becoming the accelerator for one of the greatest workplace transformations of our lifetime. How we work, who we work with, where we work, how we communicate and the ways we learn will be changed forever!” Knowing and accepting this truth, how do we navigate it with precision?
We have tools, we have expertise, and most importantly we have willingness- perhaps more willingness to change and cooperate than ever. The Covid-19 crisis is accelerating change that had already begun anyway. Many businesses are invested in, and equipped with leaders and coaches to guide teams through the process of change management. Additionally, there is technology in place that enables us to continue connecting, working and learning. The rise in mindfulness around EQ and wellbeing practices over the last decade have also equipped us better for managing change and acceleration. We have everything we need right now to grow and build.
Crisis has a way of forcing us to prioritise focus, and clarify what is important. Right now, that’s mastering the online space without losing site of the importance of human interaction, equipping ourselves with relevant skills through training and prioritising human wellbeing. It is imperative that we remain connected- not simply online, but in our relationships with one another and ourselves. In a recent survey, Forbes spoke to 350 HR leaders and revealed that companies are ramping up investment in training for remote working. The report showed that companies are prioritising training in fields such as how to work remotely for employees, and how to manage remote teams for leaders. There was an emphasis on ongoing mentoring and coaching for leaders and employees to manage change and master themselves. While we learn to master certain practicalities such as adapting to more remote working, the emphasis on human wellbeing is heroed more than ever. Wellbeing is not a perk, it is a priority. We need to hone in on teaching and practicing EQ skills that empower adaptability, and the interpersonal skills that empower connection. We need to see mindfulness practices and overall health to rise to the highest level of priority in the workplace. As famed historian Yuvel Noah Harare said in a recent Financial Times article, “Many short-term emergency measures will become a fixture of life. That is the nature of emergencies. They fast-forward historical processes.” The new normal is simply going to be “normal,” and fast. With our priorities in place, we can focus on what matters for our highest evolution- and we might just be blown away by how quickly it happens.
“First and foremost, we need to be mindful of the reality of our situation in South Africa. We need to work with what’s in front of us right now. Many of our Learners living with a disability and our Learners as a whole, do not have access to data and technology to study remotely,” noted CEO of KLM Empowered Lyn Mansour. It is imperative that more people have access to technology in South Africa for us to master our future. While the increase in internet access in recent years has been positive, with 60% of the South African population having internet access in 2017, and 78% now in 2020, we need to take an aggressive approach to growing this percentage and equipping people with devices and training. The majority of people need skills over pedigree degrees, and these skills should be technologically focused. In addition, we must continue to hero innovation through mindfulness and education, with less regard for clinging to old structures. We must hero unique perspectives that hold wisdom in wellbeing, such as those of people living with a disability and working parents who have a direct impact on the mental, emotional and physical health of our future leaders. We must remain flexible to allow what needs to happen, for our ultimate progress. We must bend in the wind to survive the storm.
KLM Empowered will continue to support unique perspectives, and the transition of the “new normal.” Our MasterClasses designed for navigating accelerated change, mastering adaption and mindfulness, and connecting authentically will continue to show up for the progress of South Africans. Find out more.