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Podcast: How to navigate the polycrisis

Thimon De Jong
Published: May 28, 2024
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An In Good Company podcast with Thimon De Jong, keynote speaker and author 

Tackling the challenges of a polycrisis

In a turbulent, digitalising, uncertain world, making sense of the future is more important than ever. But what questions should we be asking and what answers do we hope to hear?

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Thimon De Jong is a world-renowned behavioural expert, author and keynote speaker who helps organisations to become future proof by using a combination of academic research, entertaining insights and practical take-aways. In this episode, he joins Dan to talk about the world we're operating in, how to navigate the polycrisis and the human side of future tech. 

What is a polycrisis?

Polycrisis is a word used to describe the current state of the world. It's also known as a perma-crisis or meta-crisis. It describes how, from a people perspective, it feels like all these crises are coming at the same time and we haven't gotten a break. With a single crisis we get time to recuperate before another crisis. But this polycrisis started with Covid, then the Ukraine war, straight into an energy crisis, cost of living crisis, mental health crisis, the climate crisis was ongoing, but it keeps coming back and forward onto our radar. And Israel and Gaza is the latest addition to the poly crisis.

It overwhelms people

I look at the effect the polycrisis has on behaviour, and then specifically for organisations, professionals, leaders. Being in a polycrisis is different than being in a single crisis. 

How the polycrisis affects organisational change

Three things for leaders to be aware of…

  1.  People are experiencing positive and negative emotions

In parts of the world like mine (the Netherlands), we’re still here, emotions can be positive. But an hour later, you open your news app, you do some doom scrolling, and you're in depression. And this going from a positive to negative emotion is very much a polycrisis behaviour. In a single crisis the whole society is moving in one emotional direction. Now people are all over the place, which from a leadership perspective, makes it very hard because you might think they need this and then the next day / hour they might feel completely different. Your empathy skills need to be through the roof.

  1. People are anxious and tired

Remember the first wave of COVID? Everyone's in action mode, let's go! The second wave is a bit less, the third wave is... Ukraine, when the war started, we focused our energies on helping Ukrainian refugees. And this action wave went through Europe, but then the war keeps going. And now when the Israel-Gaza conflict broke out October last year, people are almost a bit numb.

  1. People don’t have the energy for change

When it comes to change (a big one for leaders and organisations) people say... ‘I really can’t change right now, I don't have the energy, I've celebrated a few times too early that we came out of a crisis. Let's wait a bit.’ And this is different from a single crisis where people almost immediately go into action mode.

The polycrisis slows you down

A lot of leaders are trying to get a change through. But it’s not going as fast as they want. Is it strategy? Is it the leadership? Maybe. But it's also the polycrisis which slows you down.

Listen to the podcast on Spotify

Watch our interview here:

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029: The changing world of HR with François Wang, Revlon 

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Thimon De Jong's website

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