TORONTO, Ont. – That which does not kill us, makes us stronger. It’s a refrain that has been repeated by everyone from philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche to singer-songwriter Kelly Clarkson.
Barry Pokroy of Circle & Square, a Farber coaching business, says the key to the desired outcome will involve preparing for what he calls “post-traumatic growth”.
“We are living in uncertain times,” Pokroy said, during a webinar hosted by Newcom Media, which publishes Today’s Trucking.
Covid-19 has challenged an array of assumptions about the world. Traveling to work, taking public transit, or going to the doctor don’t feel like safe activities anymore. He suddenly has a different relationship with his car keys. (“What happens if I put them on the table?”)
The pandemic sent businesses into a crisis management mode, as leaders established remote work activities and created task forces to help protect the health of people and businesses alike.
Crises are nothing new, but “change agents” of the past came in the form of factors like new business processes, or mergers and acquisitions.
“With Covid, we were thrust into change. There was no change agent,” Pokroy said.
He likened the experience to the stages of grief, such as shock, denial, anger, bargaining, and despair. But now it’s a matter of allowing a business to be defeated by coronavirus, or accepting that things are different and moving forward accordingly.
Successful business strategies in a Covid-19 world will involve calling on several resources, he said, referring to changes in workplace policies, the timing of a return to work, safety checks, training and communication.
Comparing the issue to a romantic relationship, he said success will depend on dialogue, intentional emotional awareness, an increased level of consciousness, being realistic, and owning decisions and outcomes.
That will involve having difficult conversations with employees. Personnel will need to be coached to reframe challenges. Two-way communications will require listening with empathy and engaging everyone who is involved.
“These are unprecedented times,” he admitted. “There is no manual for the management of Covid.”
But people and organizations alike often emerge from crises stronger and more resilient than before, he said.
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