We regularly talk about how our VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous) world brings a new reality of living and working in an environment where disruption is the new norm. With all that is happening globally with COVID-19, we are experiencing our VUCA world in full force!

Uncertain and unsettling times like these require us to leverage our ability to lead and navigate adaptive change.

This means we have to think creatively and promote our resourcefulness rather than relying on “tried and true” solutions. It is also critically important that we are basing our decisions on sound science – which many times is unfolding by the hour.

Many workplaces have been thrust into the unknowns of adaptive challenges: suddenly needing to accommodate remote working, limiting meetings and gatherings, reducing and closing operations, and more.

Such challenges can lead to anxiety and unintentional dehumanization of our workplaces. Yet they can also be an opportunity to build connection and resiliency. Here are some key considerations to boost humanity in your workplace:

  1. Anchor on your purpose and core values. Although what we do and how we go about our work may change during this global pandemic, anchoring your decisions and communications on your company purpose and core values can help provide consistency and a bit of calm in the midst of this VUCA storm.
  2. Words matter! Be diligent about your language . The words we use matter profoundly and have the ability to humanize or dehumanize quickly. I’ve heard many organizations, although well-intended, using language like, “non-essential staff.” The unspoken message that some employees are expendable can leave them feeling discouraged and devalued. We must be thoughtful about the words we use – especially during high anxiety times like these.
  3. Call yourself and others to greatness. It’s even more critical for us to be conscious about how we help people feel connected, purposeful, and show up as leaders. Ask people to practice pausing, be curious and focus on what is known and what we all can do to be helpful and add value today. Practice patience and empathy, as our communities are struggling right now.
  4. Leverage Videoconferencing Platforms. We use Zoom regularly and love it — even more so now that their CEO is offering it for free to K-12 schools – way to go, Eric Yuan!  Connecting via video helps maintain that human, connected spirit while honoring our need to be physically isolated.
  5. Foster Connection & Community. Whether it’s videochat, phone, email, or snail mail, make a conscious effort to reach out especially to colleagues and friends who have the additional burden of being put on unpaid leave or are struggling to work from home while their children are home.
Now, More Than Ever, We Need Human Workplaces

As a small business, Salveo Partners has certainly have felt the force of what is happening. Anchoring on our purpose and core values is helping us navigate how we want to show up, adjust and continue to add value in the world. And leaning into the discomfort and supporting our community is key.

In the coming weeks and months, we will be looking for ways to continue to support our clients, TWCC graduates and community in ways that make sense and help us all thrive within this new reality.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and comments. What are you doing to honor humanity and show up as a leader during these unprecedented times?

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