What do I mean by this? During a recent interview, I was asked, “What changes due to the pandemic do you hope stick through the recovery and beyond, and what changes do you hope don’t?” How would you answer that question for your own business? For your family? For yourself?
Regardless of what the masses do, we each have a choice and we each can decide what to do or not do for ourselves. Here is how I answered the question (paraphrased):
The change I hope sticks is the heightened level of curiosity leaders have today. As you may know from the training we do around our 7 C’s of Change, there are two paths to change but only one path to growth. One is the path of curiosity, which allows us to make decisions in clarity. The other is the path of complacency which eventually forces us to make decisions in crisis. When times are good, we grow more complacent, more set in our ways … we take the bait and fall into the “prosperity trap.” When times are bad, we grow more curious and willing to innovate. Why not stay curious all the time? It is, after all, what perennial market leaders do and it’s what all those companies that fall off the S&P 500 every year fail to do. Yes, it’s human nature, but it doesn’t have to be the nature of our business if we as leaders commit to seeking clarity and building strategies that keep us out of the prosperity trap.
The change I hope does not stick are the cutbacks in investments businesses are making in their most valuable assets, their people. The first cuts made when the crisis hit were to people – 40 million unemployed. Understandable. The first investments being made during the recovery will be infrastructure and technology. Also, understandable. However, when people begin coming back to work the winners will fund budgets for developing their people just as quickly. You can’t grow your company without growing your people. To do it right, you must determine three things: 1) What roles and teams will deliver the biggest impact moving forward (probably not the same as pre-pandemic), 2) Who on your team has the mindset to adjust, and 3) What skillsets and toolsets will they require to succeed? Only with the right mindset will the right skillsets and toolsets follow. The wrong people are always harder to train, and the right people always make training a smart investment.