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Diaries of a task force leader

Diaries of a task force leader
Published: March 18, 2020
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How is your organisation responding to the virus situation? Impact's Andy Dickson shares his experiences... 

It’s suddenly quite a different world! If, like me, you work in an international business that relies on people working together, then you are probably doing your very best to do work differently or do different work.

It’s amazing how resourceful and agile humans can be when there is no option but to deal with a ‘new normal’ – Darwin had a few things to say about this.

At Impact, our business is all about people working together to achieve results; yours will no doubt be the same. We help organisations lead change, engage their people, and deal with the challenges they face. It’s safe to say we all have challenges right now.

I’m heading up our own coronavirus task force – it’s challenging, it’s dynamic and it’s extremely uncertain. We are all doing our best, we are learning, and we are staying agile for whatever comes our way. The following lenses have really helped:

  • Maintaining a clear view of where we all want to be in a few weeks’ or months’ time, regardless of whatever happens in between
  • Taking time to understand where our people, customers and stakeholders are at with all of this ­– we are all human
  • Being really clear in our communication and intent
  • And, most of all, remaining agile and prepared to accept that what worked yesterday might not work today

We need to be agile and understanding, holding our beliefs lightly. However, we must also be purposeful, decisive, and ready to flex if our actions don’t achieve the desired result. Noticing is critical in all of this. Impact’s leadership model illustrates the importance of awareness and noticing:   

  • Notice what is happening
  • Decide what action is needed
  • Act decisively, mindfully, and in an agile manner, with compassion for the situation

This is our mantra right now. We also know that our people need:

  • Meaning: why are we doing what we are doing?
  • Value: what’s my part in all of this?
  • Structure: what’s the plan?

And what about our customers? They have quickly learned that in order to stay in business they need to do work differently and do different work. We are helping them with their challenges in many different ways, including:

  • Creating world-class virtual learning solutions that are highly experiential, engaging and results-focused ­– just because we can’t meet face-to-face doesn’t mean that experiential learning solutions can’t be exciting!
  • Providing high-quality coaching for leaders and managers
  • Guiding crisis teams, task forces and functional teams that are trying to come to terms with the new normal

These are challenging times, but as one of my colleagues articulated, "This is the true test of great organisations: not when the going is good but when the going is tough. It’s now that we find out what we are truly capable of."

Impact exist to help organisations like yours to be successful, come rain or shine. The storm is either already with you or on its way, and we are here to help.


Andy Dickson – Impact global coronavirus task force leader and senior consultant