Today has been an amazing day in making a difference. For 6 months I have worked with a client to establish a forum for BAME staff to be supported and to share their concerns and challenges around shielding during the Pandemic. This conversation brought us to today where they launched a BAME café for everyone in the organisation regardless of race, gender, background or role. The Champions worked hard; they showed courage at not only telling their stories, they told them to actors who were able to help them share their stories. And then they were also videoed saying “This happened to me”. And too an even braver step to add in more context, to bring the story right off the page and into people hearts and minds. A reminder that stories of racial prejudice are not something that happens only on the TV or in the papers it happens to real people, perhaps the person sitting next to you right now.
This is important work. We need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable in order to create places and societies in which everyone feels included and has a sense of belonging. What can you do in your life to enable this to happen? If something is in your circle of control then Just Do It.
I am increasingly drawn to this phrase of Common Humanity. It’s something that I have as a figure when working with teams. It’s part of what connects us, if nothing else seems to in a moment of disagreement or lack of team cohesion. It’s a go to place to find a safe haven from which to set sail towards a collective purpose.
Having just come off a session that is being run by The Association for Coaching on “Coaching Through Bereavement” my interest in Common Humanity has been piqued and deepened in the context of our world today. To be human is to suffer, it’s one of those universal laws and I could wax lyrical about that for ages. Suffice it to say that we cannot know highs unless we have experienced lows. One does not exist without the other. Right now, suffering is at an all time high in most of our lifetimes and we are all experiencing collective trauma. Pain, grief, and suffering will come to coaching in some format in the coming months and years as more people will need and want a more practical help than may be found in counselling. And I am not diminishing counselling at all in that comment.
There have been few times of collective trauma for most of us: 9/11; Princess Diana’s death; Trumps inauguration, some may say. Now the sense of loss is huge, broad and deep. Death; loss of marriage; loss of dating for young people (and not so young); loss of freedom, jobs, security, certainty, education, friendships, partying, education; friendships at school; travel and much much more. So many losses.
As leaders the way in which we lead will need to change to embrace all of this. Our understanding of connections, relationships, common humanity, needs to be figure, front of mind as we move forward. So, all of us coaches out there, we must be ready to help people be more aware and take responsibility in different ways then perhaps is our norm. What do you need to do more of? Less of? Its time to start.
How do you navigate this strange new business world when dynamics such as hybrid working and the need to embrace diversity have shifted the leadership landscape? : Adapting to this new world requires enormous changes in personal thinking and sometimes drawing upon your past wisdom or at least that of others.
Change is not a stranger to many of us. We have acquired strategies for change since the day we were born after all! For me I learnt to adapt to change before I was in double digits. Born into a mixed marriage I and my siblings were visible reminders that change was happening. Of course not everyone embraced this and their responses added to my armoury of change agility. Coupled with living in several different countries as my Father was in the Armed Forces, I grew up loving change. At one point in my life my pattern was to move every two or three years. A pattern that followed into my adult life for quite some time. Now, I do not need to change my environment quite so much and find changing my internal landscape more.
When I coach leaders, I am interested in what resources they have acquired in their lives. We forget that we already have most of the answers, often we don’t have the means to access them. What resources do you have that will aid a successful hybrid revolution in working?
It helps to break down the component parts of a challenge to see the whole as a sum of its parts. We talk about Four Forces impacting on Hybrid Working
- The Ecosystem
- The Organisation
- The Team
- The Individual
Take each of these forces and reflect on what is working well and what is needed.
Step one may look like a check list that you could be tempted to cascade to your managers. Before you do that ask yourself do your managers have the skills to address each of those points. Knowing “how” to effectively manage behavioural change is different form being instructed on “what “ to do, The Hybrid Revolution requires huge behavioural change. It requires putting the person in the centre of what we do.
If you are interested in finding out more about our approach and ideas listen to our interview on Voice of America where we explore the leadership challenge of the hybrid revolution.