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Every crisis has a huge impact on our lives. Nowadays, while we are dealing with a unique global virus pandemic, the likes of which are to be found very far back in history, making all of us aware that this will be a real game-changer. Organisational structures are likely to crumble, and the culture of many company will have to follow suit. A new way of working is knocking our doors. Are we ready to adopt it?
Yuval Noah Harari says "Sapiens became The Masters of Creation because of their ability to communicate, collaborate and ultimately adapt.
Also the post-COVID phase will challenge us to evolve, adapting the ways we collaborate and communicate.
There will be a need for re-organization, re-allocation of resources, re-building of the internal and external relations. Companies decisions made now will have large consequences after the peak of the crisis. Agility will be the key to survival: The most effective quality needed to overcome the challenges of constant disruption and retransformation affecting all of us today.
What will gain importance during the post-crisis period?
Learning will be the most important ‘keyword’ to internalize. As Alvin Toffler said:
“The illiterate of the 21st century, will not be those who cannot read and write, but who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”
A crisis situation is indeed a very effective teacher to learn about your organization’s reality and also about teams. A crisis is like a Litmus Paper where acidic and alchemic sides of your company can immediately be observed with changing sharp colors. So, a good assessment after the crisis is your chance to improve your resilience and get ready for the next crisis. Why resilience is so important? Because a crisis is not a question of ‘If’, it is only a question of ‘When’.
If you are enough lucky to have organizational decision-makers adopting a learning orientation and use prior experience to develop new routines and behaviors, then you will ultimately change the way the organization operates. You will become more resilient, which is a pre-requisite for Business Continuity.
What else? What we will need more?
Leadership will gain further importance. However, take a break here! We are not talking about the senior and formal leaders who think they can manage and control the companies and people. We are talking about Agile Leadership where every individual will take her own responsibility, collaborate effectively with the teams, aligned with a common purpose, and perform her best.
Remote work and employee engagement will be a major subject to ponder. Many employees perceive and experience that it is possible to work from home, despite its disadvantages. A more balanced life - work relationship may be achievable and desirable even for many.
Also, considering the potential risks to hire many employees and keep paying their salaries at financially challenging times, will lead the companies to divert more to the external consultants and freelancers so that they allocate easily the human power when they need them. Additionally, the companies will likely realize that how much they rely on external (independent) business talent to restart their business growth.
In short, to handle this ever-increasing remote work will request much more careful attention on engagement -which was always an issue- covering both internal and external business talent and aligning them around a common purpose without the continuous physical presence of the various stakeholders. .
Businesses will have to completely re-plan their workforce strategy at post Covid-19 crisis. HR and talent development professionals will gain importance if they act strategically because they are the information & knowledge centers of the companies who can indeed contribute to develop Agile company culture. To focus on the Agile principles and act accordingly will help companies to realize in disrupting environments the opportunities arising from themselves.
In order to see these opportunities, skills -such as adaptability, innovation, collaboration, communication, openness to change, higher-order critical thinking- will be needed. And the crisis will speed up the demand for technology enabled online training. Do not forget: Without the right skills and the proper communion of goals and communication from their management, people feel disempowered. And in this new era of remote work, you will need a more self-organizing and empowered work-force. Of course, it is not easy to balance it and you will need time to deliver work of high quality. Work in small but accurate steps, and when possible, use coaching to help digest all these changes.
This is so far all very related to people, right? We will need also enabler structures; a facilitating environment to accelerate the adoption of these changes. At this point also, HR functionalities will gain strategic importance. Because HR will need to change incentive schemes, new version of refocus on talent acquisition. In short, HR will need to act more Agile, and this new Agile HR will carry a critical role for the companies who want to recover & flourish faster during the post-crisis period.
A crisis is indeed a transformation where the old system cannot be maintained anymore. This health crisis is a game-changer presenting us with two faces of the same coin:
On one side it put a new vocabulary in our global languages: ‘social distancing’. While technology was blamed to estrange us from each other physically, now it became an enabler to make us closer within the social distance framework! From this perspective, at the new remote working era, technology will be an important enabler for us. While we work far away, we will get closer!
On the other hand, people will crave much more for ‘human touch’ while using technology as a gadget. And that is where human enablers will be needed. A few magical keywords pop up naturally at this stage:
Yes, the new way of working is at the door. Agile way of working was already a ‘necessity’ for some companies while it was considered as ‘buzz word’ for some other clusters. This global health crisis showed us in practice ‘Agility’ is indeed a matter of death/life. In the new era, it is highly predictable that Agile teams will be able to adapt to the new circumstances being faster and more flexible. And to transform your culture to Agile mindset, you will need Agile Leadership, Agile HR, Agile People Coaching more than ever. Because we are all human and even though the crisis seems like a revolution it is still an evolution that we will digest and transform altogether.
We wonder your ideas and approach. You are welcome to comment!