I had “zoom cocktails” with old friends, Michaela and Richard, a few days ago. They live in the mountains in the South of France (yes, they have an extraordinary view). The crisis there is about four weeks ahead of us in the New York area, so they are starting to think about a return to normal life.
During our chat we started talking about what they will take away from this experience. Michaela, an artist, had a ready answer: “I’ve been a lot more fearless. I’m more willing just to try something and not overthink it. I like that. I’m going to keep being more adventurous.”
I’m seeing this kind of energy inside of the companies I coach, too. Projects that have been a little or a lot stuck for months or even years suddenly move forward. Executives who are known for overthinking are willing to just go for it. Teams which had been a bit lackadaisical are much more driven.
Sometimes, it takes something as loud as a crisis to help us learn to adapt. And right now – when planning for an uncertain and changing future – adaptability is a top skill.
Here are some powerful questions to ask yourself and your teams:
What has enabled me (or us) to move some things faster over the past month?
What has been stuck for months or even years that got unstuck during this time? Think about this professionally and also personally.
What if there were a different, lighter way to do something I’ve always done?
I’m becoming more adaptive – and experimental – in my own work. I’ve been asked to plan some virtual offsites for my clients. To adapt the sessions to work in a virtual environment I designed them to be in shorter segments with far less structure than I normally use. The results so far are that the sessions are more improvisational, raw and even intimate – counterintuitive considering we were all on video! I’m looking forward to seeing what happens when I incorporate those techniques live.
I discussed how to make virtual meetings sparkle with my friend Robbe Richman, author of The Culture Blueprint, and who is a deep thinker on this topic. What makes virtual meetings sparkle? “Humor,” he told me. “When people are laughing, they are more playful, more creative, more relaxed. People are more open to learning and trying new things.”
Humor! I can be a teensy bit…let’s say “earnest” when I am trying to get my points across. I realized that I needed to add in more whimsy. I called my friend Douglas Widdick who is simply hilarious, creative, and sure knows how to communicate through video. We cooked up something fun – watch this space!