One thing I am noticing when talking to colleagues and clients is that ‘speed to delivery’ has radically improved for all sorts of workarounds and innovations, including creative business offerings, new modes of working, and technological connectivity. This is causing many to question why on earth everything used to take so long! Was it lack of knowledge, bad processes or simply bureaucracy that held us back? Or worse, were we just being lazy?
I believe three key things are at play:
- Firstly, we have had to do some pretty ruthless prioritisation. We all know time management theory, but in practice we are poor at getting our focus and priorities in order. Right now, we have had little choice but to keep our eyes on what is essential and get it done. As a result many people are stepping up to do amazing things. Ordinary folk are achieving extraordinary results.
- Secondly, we are all working harder. Days (and evenings) are long and we have fewer boundaries to contain our efforts when working from home and across different time zones. The lack of commute, whilst great in so many ways, just provides more time to work. Our endocrine system is pumping more hormones into our systems to facilitate the fight or flight response, and we’re fighting!
- Thirdly, I am certain there is also a part of us looking for ways to take back some control in a time of disruption and uncertainty. Success is something we can take comfort in, so we try to achieve more and help others. This is the human spirit at work.
We should take a moment to realise that this relentless, round-the-clock, high-adrenaline superhero approach, whilst delivering much needed results, is storing up corporate exhaustion for later. It is certainly not sustainable. We may soon need to question at what stage we should encourage ourselves and our colleagues to take a breath and recover. This is, after all, a marathon, not a sprint. As many organisations are – understandably – taking up the ‘furlough’ opportunity for a proportion of their staff, those remaining will inevitably need to take up any slack, either immediately or in the transition as work starts to pick up again. For that we need to stay healthy and rested. Food, hydration, exercise and sleep are all key ingredients, and so is the need for us to appreciate one another and check that we really are ok.
I am convinced that we will learn many valuable lessons from this period in history, lessons that will help us challenge and recalibrate the status quo in all areas of our lives. And yes, it will help us permanently increase our ‘speed to delivery’, but whilst we are doing what we need to in order to survive, we must also pay attention to what will help us to thrive in the future. We are not superheroes; we are all just amazing human beings!
Jackie Carter is a Global Client Solutions Manager at Impact. You can connect with her here.