We recently learned that one quarter of the world’s population is in some form of lockdown – some recent, some longer and some a lot more strict than others.
Clearly, we need to ensure we are complying with guidelines and restrictions. It is our social responsibility as an organization to help reduce the spread of the infection and most importantly lower the pressure on the health systems and their heroic healthcare workers, buying them the time needed to fight this pandemic.
It’s not always easy to practice ‘social distancing’ and be confined to a physical space. Even though I am used to working from home – confining myself to hours in front of the screen – I admit I am struggling with it. It is one thing to do it voluntarily – as a lifestyle choice – another thing to do it when the choice has been taken away.
Many of us have immediate family and friends in lockdown, near and far – often on their own, and the need to keep an eye on the wellbeing of more than your own household can be overwhelming too. And certainly if you have young kids at home who cannot easily understand why they mustn’t go and fetch a football back from the neighbour’s garden because of social distancing! But adapt we all must – and if we all play our part in this, this too shall pass…
I will forever associate this lockdown with January – our global programme for senior leaders, which was delivered this week – online. For those of us who have delivered powerful learning experiences in physical settings, we always seem to go into weeks like this with mild trepidation. But it has been a truly transformational experience to meet the participants (virtually) from across the world, who are grateful and delighted to have an opportunity to connect, in real time, at a time of social distancing and isolation and to explore a health challenge related to innovation. It’s been a privilege to be on the journey with them this week – hearing an alumnus from New Zealand who is a medical practitioner from the Maori community talking passionately about the need to go back to one’s roots – the role of cultural norms in driving approaches to leadership, and indeed healthcare, and this whole notion of fear and death at a time of crisis. Mind blowing!
It makes you realize: this is the time we need to know who we are as people, and how we play different roles in society to have the biggest impact we can. A lot of my own preconceived notions about the balance between local and global have been challenged as a result of the conversations this week. It is amazing, almost ironic, to think how I have gained some amazing leadership insights and learnings while being physically cut off from the rest of the world.
And my learnings have not only come from the world outside. I have been inspired by watching my colleagues in action, online, this week. We introduced the concept of ‘agile creativity’ into our January programme, but I have seen many teams across our organization live it! It’s been inspiring to watch my colleagues at work, adapting to changes with complete agility. And while working with their usual passion and commitment, and not even realizing it, many of them are actually changing the game for how our programmes are delivered.
If anything, this week has reinforced in my mind that Common Purpose is open for business – and that is not going to change. But how we deliver what we deliver has evolved and will evolve further going forward. Now is the time to really explore what is in our core and what is in our flex as an organization in order to stay relevant and true to our purpose – and in order to help us adapt, thrive and be prepared for the future!