Working remotely full time was a ticket to a new lifestyle. It meant more time with family, the ability to attend school awards ceremonies and carnivals, home for dinner, more balanced sharing of home duties and not having to change directly into business attire after a morning cycle! I can tell you I LOVE IT!
Five weeks in, however, and this ‘lifestyle’ was suddenly something just about everyone had to adjust to as a result of COVID-19 restrictions. Like it, or not, this has created a new normal that might stick around for some time: it might even fundamentally change workplaces forever.
My transition to Executive Central was not only about lifestyle. This career step means I now have a business to run, a Board of Directors to support and most importantly a team to keep connected across the country and overseas.
As a remote business, our Consultants are well-accustomed to sessions in front of computer coaching clients on our Coachlive platform. We’ve done this for many years now and are really benefiting from having this virtual service well-established prior to the disruption of COVID-19.
What has been important, however, is the need to connect more regularly as a team to share concerns, frustrations, worries, and ideas and innovations that we can take forward. One of the team shared a quote that suggested we shouldn’t talk to clients about ‘bouncing back’ but rather we should help them ‘bounce forward’. What a great concept that, without discrediting the pain and suffering experienced, places a forward-looking, optimistic emphasis on what would otherwise be seen as a catastrophe that cannot be overcome.
On the home front here in Australia, through good management and compliance to ‘flatten the curve’, we are experiencing mateship and support for others in a new light. Simply staying at home and trying to adapt is saving the lives of our fellow Australians.
When the needed restrictions were introduced, our Executive Central team had some deep conversations about how we could best support our clients. The resounding message that shone through was incredibly heartening for me as the new MD. The team was adamant we should ‘be there for our clients’, even if that meant offering complimentary leadership development and coaching as people needed it.
Our team has drawn on their expertise in managing remote teams, on our strengths-based coaching work and introducing clients to new ways of running workshops online. We have continued to deliver coaching and leadership outcomes for our clients — paid and complimentary, and switching to fully virtual delivery — which has enabled at least some normality to continue for them.
What is absolutely clear to me and to our organisation is that the world has been plunged into one of the most astounding and profound ‘Neutral Zones’ ever experienced. The Neutral Zone (as noted by W. Bridges) is a space in time where people are unsure of what the future holds and tend to go into a ‘wait and see’ mode. This has sparked a sense of grief with everyone very aware that the old state of being is going or has gone away, that just about every aspect of life has changed. Our Executive Chairman, Rob Balmer, has prepared a white paper on this topic and I encourage you to read it.