To effectively maneuver as a world, nation, organization, team, and family, we must rely most on the fundamentals that make being human so profound. The qualities that have helped us weather many storms. Those that have propelled us to thrive, moving us forward with courage and hope to create a better tomorrow. Amidst all the ambiguity today, what we need most is our basic desire to CARE.
Staying connected emotionally, mentally, and physically (with appropriate social distancing) is key to strengthen bonds, make sense of what we are experiencing, and take small steps forward. This requires us to focus on creating transparency (share feelings and information openly); learning (actively inquire and listen); and engagement (collaborate to understand and identify how to best respond). With this focus we can build bridges and a shared sense of purpose and belonging, reinforcing our need and pledge to travel this journey together.
How to Connect…
- Listen with intent — Actively listen to understand and identify priority needs (self and others)
- Foster trust and credibility — Openly communicate with transparency, authenticity, and consistency
- Focus on the whole person — Tend to the head (clarify), heart (motivate) and hands (equip) (self and others)
- Be present — Be aware, accessible, and ready to check-in with others to help create comfort and confidence to act
Freeing ourselves from the comfort of routine is the doorway to new possibilities and hope. Though our current ways have served us well, we need to employ shifts to excel in our new reality. This requires us to reflect and work together to modify our lens (where we focus), expand and deepen our skills (what we can do), and use old and new tools in different ways (how we act). This is scary, frustrating, and challenging, as change is difficult even under “normal” conditions. We must remember that not everything needs to change. We need to find small ways to adapt, allowing us to effectively function and maneuver.
How to Adapt…
- Redefine success — Refocus success and performance metrics to highlight progress, learning, creativity, effort, and impact
- Grow — Target development and support to perform effectively in new reality (e.g., training, coaching, resources)
- Embrace change — Model and foster positive thinking, realistic expectations, and creativity to contribute with meaning
- Collaborate — Promote the use of diverse skills, perspectives, experiences, and capabilities to accomplish work together
Taking care of the self in times of crisis is a significant factor in our ability to CARE overall. Our tendency is to focus on everyone else and on obstacles we cannot control or influence. Under times of stress (good and bad), our “fight or flight” instinct also takes over to keep us safe, further exhausting our vital energy. It is important for us to consciously invest in activities to recover and refocus, tending to and strengthening our health and wellbeing (mind, body, spirit).
How to Refuel…
- Be attentive — Listen and respond to changing needs (self and others)
- Prioritize health and wellbeing — Support and reinforce the importance of self-care in policy and practice (ways to reflect, connect, and move)
- Focus on impact — Prioritize time and energy on activities within influence and control, and support others
Encouraging everyone to represent their interests and needs in a responsible, self-determined way is critical. This includes increasing the degree of autonomy and support to tend to personal safety (physical, mental, and relational aspects) and operate as needed to accomplish work. Our situation requires us to expect flexibility, share and expand decision-making authority, and prioritize our focus on satisfying our basic needs. Though this may feel uncomfortable, trusting others and ourselves to do what is best will fuel greater mutual respect and commitment to help each other thrive.
How to Empower…
- Realign how we work — Modify expectations, policies, and benefits to support diverse work, approaches, and needs
- Contingency plan — Proactively anticipate, mitigate, and identify viable options to address potential needs and challenges
- Work real-time — Continuously assess information, risks, and impact to determine how to best respond in the moment
- Be creative — Challenge the status quo and seek out new and different ways to achieve meaningful results
To move forward, now more than ever, we must pull together and interact with empathy, honesty, and transparency. We must CARE for ourselves and those around us. This is no time for competition or the lone wolf, but time to collaborate, innovate, and focus on the human spirit. People have always been the greatest resource to fuel meaningful, sustainable progress. Let’s take CARE of our greatest resource and mindfully move forward together – one step, one day at a time.