‘There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.’ Vladimir Lenin
When Covid-19 struck we experience turbulence in our lives which was entirely new to most of us. It has been hard to look forward and be sure how everything will play out.
However, amongst the gloomy predictions of Great Depression-like economic slumps and massive job losses, there is hope. And opportunity. The opportunity for us, as a society to change, and an opportunity for each individual to make changes to their lives and create a better balance.
Life before lockdown wasn’t all great! The ‘new normal’ everyone is talking about smacks to me of compromise, limitation and lack.
Nobel Peace Prize winner and social entrepreneur Muhammad Yunus suggests we should not be planning for economic recovery post-Covid, we should redesign the economy and, therefore, business from scratch. I couldn’t agree more.
There are already encouraging signs of this much needed reset. The city of Amsterdam has embraced economist Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics – a blueprint for redefining priorities as they seek to rebuild after lockdown.
Raworth’s model, moves us away from our toxic obsession with growth and seeks instead to solve humanity’s 21st century challenge; how to meets the needs of all within the means of the planet.
Business needs to adapt. We need to adapt. And as we adapt, we need to define what we want this ‘new’ to be, and work towards creating a work/life that provides a healthy balance. Our embrace of technology, home working and digital solutions is unlikely to recede completely even once a vaccine is found.
But, how do we maintain connection and develop strong, resilient and empathetic cultures when the people in them no longer travel to an office or share the same physical space? This will be a particular challenge as move into a lower-touch reality.
This will mean adapting to social distancing regulations, potentially a series of temporary lockdowns, travel restrictions and new hygiene guidelines. Customers will be much more cautious when it comes to physical contact, enclosed spaces and large gatherings.
Potentially this could mean that we become less connected, which could pose a further danger to our happiness and mental health. So, maintaining a connection has to be part of our new lives and new business models and ethos.
Human beings are social animals. Forget new normal, we need ‘New Balance’. And that starts with the human being. There is no coincidence that the businesses and governments that have fared best against the Covid storm have been led by kind, empathetic and open leaders.
Think Jacinta Ardern – New Zealand’s Prime Minster. Arden represents a welcome shift away from authoritative power. She does Facebook live sessions and answer questions kindly, honestly and transparently.
So, how do you create a ‘New Balance’ in your work in project management?
Here are five practical steps to help make this ‘new balance’ a reality in your projects and in the lives of your team, your clients– and yourself. To help those around you please share these tips and encourage them to form new habits:
Businesses that have adopted kind, empathetic and human-first approaches are the ones that are moving forward in difficult times. The businesses that are going to thrive in the new economy are going to be the ones that are focused on building community and fostering belonging for customers and employee.
As Intel’s Andy Gove famously said, “bad companies are destroyed by crisis, good companies survive them, and great companies are improved”.
Those that will improve will do so by human collaboration not competition. Within projects you’ll be involved with you have the opportunity to operate differently. Focus on and appreciating what is most important – the human beings.
Sid Madge is founder of Meee (My Education Employment Enterprise) which draws on the best creativity and thinking from the worlds of branding, psychology, neuroscience, education and sociology, to help people achieve extraordinary lives.
To date, Meee has transformed the lives of over 20,000 people, from leaders of PLC’s and SME’s to parents, teachers, students, carers, the unemployed and prison inmates.
Sid Madge is also author of the ‘Meee in Minute’ series of books which each offer 60 ways to change your life, work-, or family-life in 60 seconds.