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Every Crisis is an Opportunity…to Learn

This article, authored by our Member Consultant Kelley Haggert, continues a special series titled “Creating Resiliency During the COVID-19 Crisis.” 

This series will feature articles, podcasts and additional resources from our Consultants Collective member consultants, advisors and coaches, whose experience and expertise includes risk and change management, Asia, China, offshoring, leading distributed global teams, managing crises and internal communications, deploying and managing online collaboration tools that enable people to work together virtually, developing new models, as well as expertise in innovation and design-thinking, work-life integration — and more — all of which uniquely positions Consultants Collective to serve its clients during this time. We hope this series is a valuable resource to you and your organization as you tackle the challenges presented by this global public health crisis. If we can provide additional help and support through our executive consulting, advisory and coaching services, please contact us.

As COVID-19 broke down our door to bring troubled times, it also cracked open a window to learning – about ourselves, our colleagues, families, and our resiliency as a local and global community. Once the dust has (sort of) settled, we’re all working remotely, entertaining kids home from school (!!), and staying connected with our circle, hopefully a learning mindset will be activated. And this could be the bridge to what comes next.

We don’t know what to expect in terms of business planning and strategies, challenges, and changing paradigms in how we can add value through our work. What we do know is that leaning into what we can learn from this situation will better position us to navigate a post-coronavirus world. This means flipping an intimidating self-isolation into an opportunity to expand our minds, our skills, and our understanding – personally and professionally.

What We Do

For the immediate future, we’ll be laser focused on getting stuff done; checking off a list of To Do’s, minding a list of Don’t’s, and otherwise struggling to prevent a spiral into unproductive and uncomfortable thoughts. Here is where we can learn: stop the spiral and build a skill that will help advance your contributions and credibility at work; dig into research or best practices on areas you already know but could do better, faster, more efficiently, or at a higher level; learn a language that will help you connect with colleagues, clients, friends, or your passion for travel (once that’s a thing again); or tap into technology, whether it’s testing out software that will increase your productivity and improve ways of working, or playing with a new app to understand how it might add to your life, or the marketing mix for your company or client.

How We Feel

The cloak of solitude draped over the world by COVID-19 has also thrown us into our interior lives. Whether you like it or not, there you are. For the foreseeable future. But that can be good. It’s a chance to look inward and take stock of how you’re doing and feeling. Many wellness apps are offering free access to meditations and materials around anxiety, mindfulness, and compassion. These will help you evaluate your current level of stress, how it’s impacting you, and how to better manage and (potentially) replace it with a sense of centeredness and intention.

Who We Are

This is also a time for looking at your psychological strengths and opportunities; where you have agency and where you could have more. Taking tests like StrengthsFinder, MyersBriggs, or Core Values Index, will help inform discussions and decisions about your career. The results can help define whether you’re (still) in the right role, what you aim for next, and what gaps you need to fill to get there. Examining your goals, tweaking or even tossing and charting a new course, can happen now. This living document will serve as your North Star, so why not set the constellation while you have time for thoughtful consideration. And how you add value to your organization – and measure and demonstrate that value – should be part of that exercise, regardless of tenure or title. As your company evolves to meet the changes and challenges to come, so will how you help move that company forward.

Who We Know

As the work world sits glued to screens across the globe, now is the time to connect – reach out, expand your network when the planet is as small as it’s ever been. Is there an executive in another area of your company that you’ve always wanted to meet but never had the chance? Now is the time for that email or outreach. Has a certain leader modeled a career switch, an entrepreneurial success, or do they simply represent who you want to be when you grow up? Contact them. Inquire: how did they do it, what did they learn, and what advice can they provide? As communities unite to fight coronavirus, we’re also banding together in support of our mutual perseverance and progress. We’re in helper mode. Just ask. Then be sure to pay it forward.

How We Lead

There have been many examples of corporate, civic, and government leaders embracing their roles and responsibilities; stepping up with authority, information, and strength to help us manage down the impact. There are also others who are silent or scattershot with their messages and support. Now is the time to evaluate how best to communicate, how frequently, across which channels. And we can learn from each other as leaders, as communicators. Expanding your understanding of your role, how you can influence others, and where you can complement or even command attention and drive the actions we need to see in the world – all are valuable. Now, and moving forward.

How We Play

We all need to take a break. Time out and tune in to what our mind (and body) needs to relax and rebuild. Even the most dedicated and dynamic of professionals, needs to stop and allow space for the unscripted, untapped side on occasion. This side is where you can learn to paint, plant an organic garden, pick up a new sport, or pose your dog for Instagram photos. One dimensional, ‘all work, no play’ employees have an increased risk of burnout, discontentment, and disengagement, so supporting a mental recess for yourself and others, especially now, will help with balance and wellness.

Picture this: A few months have passed and you emerge from your self-isolation cocoon with a greater fondness for your laptop, your Uber Eats driver, and your hand weights, but you walk out into a world of different challenges and opportunities essentially the same person as you left it. Instead: if you use this time to sharpen or expand your skills and emerge with a new arsenal and understanding of who you are, what you do (and do well), and how you can contribute to a changing world, you’ll be one step ahead.

Kelley Haggert

Kelley Haggert

Kelley Haggert is a member consultant for Consultants Collective. Kelley’s previous experience spans 15+ years with the world’s top for profit and nonprofit organizations including The Walt Disney Company, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and JPMorgan Chase. She built the first ever internal communications function at The Walt Disney Studios (merging it with PR to become Global Communications); established the first internal communications function and strategy for BMGF including establishing the Foundation’s values, intranet, and leadership event series; and built the Global Marketing function for the Commercial Card division of JPMC.

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