- Karen Gregory
I’m sure I’ve mentioned in the past that during many of our programs with leaders, we talk to them about perspective. Specifically, we talk to them about taking what is perceived to be a negative issue and finding some positive in it. It’s not always easy, but we practice. Then we practice some more, because changing our perspective on issues isn’t easy. If we have to, we practice even more.
By the end of our program the leader needs to realize that they will be faced with things that are difficult for them, difficult for their employees, difficult for peers, the customer – anyone! Everyone deals with difficulty at times and leaders should be prepared to handle what comes their way so business can go on as usual.
I have been overwhelmed by the non-stop, can’t-get-away-from information and opinion on COVID-19. So, I’m taking a break. I turned it all off. News, social media, radio – everything. In the quiet I have been reflecting on the effects of all of this on our communities and our world. It’s interesting to watch behaviors. (This is a great example of emotional intelligence in action, my friends!)
What struck me as I watch the efforts of communities, governments, companies, and our population come together and try to find solutions to meeting healthcare needs, meeting basic needs, and operating as usual is that countless organizations have gotten on the “working remotely” bandwagon. This, to me, is interesting.
It's interesting because prior to this health crisis it was difficult, at best, to get leadership to agree to working remotely. The mindset of too many leaders is the work can only be done in the office. Which brings me to perspective. While the list of negatives is too numerous to list, what if we changed perspective and forced ourselves to find some positive outcomes from COVID-19?
Businesses are finding that, yes, in fact we can allow our employees to work remotely and be productive. We can hold meetings via phone or video conference. We can allow flexibility in schedules and the work still gets done! COVID-19 has forced acceptance on working remotely. This is such a positive perspective and positive outcome because it means that families can be more balanced, parents can be less stressed during summer and holiday breaks from school, and individuals don’t have to commute long distances to sit in a cubicle. With technology, remote working is definitely possible!
Schools are finding that students can elearn. Remote school! This plays right into the need for some parents to work remotely when their children have to be home. Side note: Kudos to the districts in our nation that were using elearning prior to COVID-19 – you’re a great example of proactiveness. If students are elearning, teachers are also remotely working. Imagine that! Talk about positive outcomes – not only do our students get to continue their lessons, they get the added benefit of learning more about technology and how critical it has become in the world. Odds are they are even learning to troubleshoot some of those technology issues that come up. That’s a positive outcome for them and those of us that may need to rely on them, at times, for technology advice! Parents, students, school districts and teachers are experiencing forced acceptance with elearning and that opens the possibility of so many more learning experiences for our youth. You have to love that!
Another favorite positive outcome is connecting with loved ones, especially those in our lives that are most at risk. We are now reaching out to our elderly more frequently than ever before. We are helping them learn ways to communicate with us through Skype and Facetime. They have apps like Life360 and ConnectCare that can also be used to stay connected and stay on top of healthcare. I’m sure there are even more options available that can be found at the click of a search button. The point is we are making the time to connect. We have been faced with a forced acceptance that these connections should be a priority, not left in the “when I have time bucket”. That’s a life changing difference in perspective!
It's about perspective. Be open to new perspectives, purposefully look for new perspectives and ask for new perspectives. If those are your habits, you may never have to experience a forced acceptance.