Leading and Surviving in Lockdown

leading and surviving in lockdown

Nothing like time on my hands and a crisis to get me blogging again. I’ve been distracted writing my book (more on that down the track) and, of course, running Changeable.

This week in Victoria is officially the first week of lockdown. We’ve been talking disruption, VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) and digital leadership for some time. Now we are living it and it feels, well… Hard.

How’s it going at your place?
At Changeable we are holed up in different parts of the state; I’m in South Melbourne and Sam’s in Fish Creek, working out how we continue to run our business and support our clients, to who we are very grateful for continued support. We are asking ourselves how we shift from a face-to-face business to a remote one, without compromising what we do well. At the same time, we are trying to adjust to home schooling. I’d like to say it’s organised at our place, but I’d be stretching the truth. One daughter has set up on the dining table and is now doing VCE from home in her pyjamas. The other daughter has just started an Arts Degree and has grabbed the upstairs space, where we can hear French tutorials through the double height void – not a great architectural feature in coronatimes. I’m also trying to support my parents who are over 80, fragile and living interstate.

We are all dealing with the reality that for the foreseeable future we need to rethink the way we run our businesses (if we are lucky enough to still have them), move online, change our offerings, or press pause altogether. We are all worried about our loved ones’ safety, we are concerned about our livelihoods, plus we have to deal with annoying, practical things like internet connections, groceries and sourcing toilet paper. Many of you will be challenged by the noise, closeness and demands of your families and workplaces, whilst others may feel isolated and disconnected as a result of social distancing. Some of you will have sick relatives and friends. Some have lost your jobs. Most sobering of all, lives will be lost.

How do we cope?
First of all, pause, take a breath, take a moment to think, to bring down the panic.
Over the next weeks and months, I will be blogging about resilience and wellbeing; personal and organisational. How do we lead ourselves, our teams and organisations at this time? For many of us, we are literally doing this from our kitchen tables. The line between work and home is now officially merged. Think Justin Trudeau who’s looking after his three children whilst running Canada. Think the infamous BBC newsreader we all love.

It’s in our DNA
Mental clarity, ways of calming and reinvigorating ourselves and the people we lead, will be crucial in the months to come. Not to mention strategic decision making about the best ways forward. Something to hold onto is that we are all in this together and human beings have shown throughout history that we can be remarkable when we want, and are forced, to be.

First things first. Deal with your safety
At the moment, many of us are attending to our physiological and safety needs; food, finance, shelter, a safe environment so we don’t catch or transmit the virus, somewhere to work so we can secure some income, or standing in line at Centrelink. These are the fundamentals, the first step of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, that need our attention.

Who do you want to Be at this time?
In the midst of all this disruption, you have a choice. Who do you want to be at this time? Your presence, the way you are when you connect with your family, friends and team, can have a profound effect. How do you want people to feel after they interact with you? What impact will you have? The ultimate human freedom is the ability to choose our attitude and we all have control over that.

Stay safe and sane


Here’s a bit of joy and inspiration from Couch Choir (formerly Pub Choir), which is worth experiencing live, when we can gather again face-to-face.

Blog Coach Worksheet for those who like to journal
Who do I want to BE at this time? This is about your presence and your impact on others.

What are the values/qualities I want to be guided by?
If you need some guidance on values, you might like this.

What would you like others to feel and think after they interact with you? (online, phone, email)

When we look back on the Coronavirus 2020 pandemic. What would you like others to say they saw in you?

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