On breaking out in the outbreak

Culture and values / Learning and development
Phil Purver
By Phil Purver | 20th April 2020

Chief Executive of The Working Manager, Managing Director of TWME8 and iRIS Health Solutions Ltd.

Coronavirus has brought the world to a standstill. While accepting change, grieving for what’s lost and facing uncertainty is difficult, this moment of pause offers us a chance to reflect and rethink our lives. As Josh Bersin says, it’s ‘a reset of our expectations. Reset in our priorities. And a reset in how we spend our time.’

This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is our chance to break free from old ways-of-being, and embrace practises that better serve ourselves and others. So perhaps rather than asking when our lives will get back to normal, we should be thinking about the type of ‘new normal’ we'd like to create.

Could social distancing and remote working bring us closer together?

Could an economic downturn enrich other areas of our lives?

Could considering others benefit us all in the long run?

These are big questions, and how we respond to them is essential. In their recent CareerBurst webinar on how to drive your career remotely, Sarah Hobbs (Talent & Potential) and Melanie Small (The Working Manager) reminded us that our behaviour during this time could make a huge difference, and how we behave will be remembered.

But what’s required is surprisingly simple. Listening to our better nature, our innate sense of integrity and human kindness is enough. Sarah calls this ‘seeing the world through a lens of empathy’ and reminds us that small gestures such as picking up the phone to a colleague, checking in on how they are and taking the time to listen to their reply are easy first steps that can make a big difference.

For me this also means using communications platforms such as Zoom or Skype, to connect face-to-face when possible. Yes, this makes sense on a professional level — to foster connection, team spirit and visibility — but it also makes sense on a human level. Nothing takes the edge off a long day in isolation more than giving and receiving a smile. As Sarah says in the webinar, ‘there's an appetite to get to know each other.’ Let's make the most of it!

Job seekers can also take heart here. Of course, it’s a daunting time to be out of a job, but it’s possible employers will be more open and receptive during this time of change. It’s my belief that if you can follow Sarah's advice to network, pick up with contacts and volunteer, you'll be met with warmth and appreciation.

With careful thought, we can also apply these soft skills to more significant behaviours. Bersin calls this approach ‘people first, economics second’ and believes it represents a new way of leadership. ‘You're going to see some amazing leadership stories in the next few weeks,’ he comments, ‘and mark my words, some of them will bring tears to your eyes. Empathy is in. Listening is in. Pushing people; creating competition; forcing growth — it's out.’

With this in mind, at iRIS we recently offered our Health Simulation Authoring Platform to a global community of simulation professionals for free. iRIS is in a unique position to aid the rapid delivery, creation and collaboration of training resources for medical professionals on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19. We feel strongly that this is a time for us to all pull together and share resources.

As Sarah observed in the webinar, ‘how you behave during these times is how you will be remembered’. Be sure to make the most of this opportunity to carve out the legacy you create by looking for opportunities to be kind, generous and positive.

If you missed the webinar but would like to explore how to make the most of the remote networking conversations you're having at the moment, get in touch with Sarah or Mel. They can help you shine a light on what you're good at, what you love doing and how you can best contribute during these unique times. Get in touch here: info@careerburst.co.uk or visit www.careerburstonline.com.

The next CareerBurst webinar, entitled ‘The Power of Volunteering,' is on Wednesday the 22nd of April at noon. Register here: https://lnkd.in/eyZpCWp

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