“I feel like my team is simply rearranging the chairs on the Titanic.” This is a quote from an old friend who, years ago, was lamenting the decline of his small business. He had begun the business just two years prior and after initial success, had hit a wall. The company was losing money and his team was just not understanding. No amount of new office furniture or updated cell phone plans was going to turn the tide. The very frame of how they viewed their work had to change or their ship would soon be under water.
As the world begins to reopen I’ve been asked, “Do you think this COVID-19 season will significantly change how industry and community view their work?” That’s a good question. My answer is, “It depends on whether we get seduced to simply rearrange the deck chairs.”
As challenging as this season has been, it has indeed offered us a tremendous gift. It has invited us to virtually stand outside of ourselves and wonder about how we might experiment with a more effective way. A more effective way of doing health, of doing business, of doing community, of doing life. But the seduction to return to the old way seems to be the low hanging fruit. Surely the old way is the way it should be – right?
I’ve seen pictures of pollution heavy cities around the world that are now experiencing clear skies. I’ve seen relatively motionless communities that are now bustling with added walkers and kids at play. I’ve seen local ice cream shops, previously surviving on moderate business, with lines of cars now backed up through their parking lots and out into the main street waiting to order in the drive through.
Is going back to normal really the ticket for these scenarios? And yet the old way is so seductive isn’t it?
I heard a term today – shape-shifting. It was used to describe how, when we like things the way they are, we go to great lengths to keep them that way. Yes, we might say we want – even need significant change. But rather than allow the bigger change to happen we actually shape-shift to make sure that nothing really changes. We may even go to great lengths to put on programs and shows to message that we are making big changes. But when push comes to shove – even though we know there are certain areas of our ship that are sinking – there is no way we will allow the changes we say we want to take hold. No way indeed.
So, in the midst of the reopening I offer you this…
- What has the season of COVID offered you that feels like a solid move forward from life as it was before? Where is the clearer sky for you?
- If those things were to be able to continue after the “re-open” what would that be worth to you?
- What will stand in the way of making sure our best COVID season discoveries become the new norm?
- What do you need in order to not allow shape shifting to keep you from a better tomorrow?