A few weeks into the confinement period now and I have been privileged to support organisations, leaders and staff members, through one-to-one coaching and strategic conversations. It’s been a cathartic experience to be able to provide a space that sets the conditions for healing, that encourages people to look straight into their strengths and also help them shed layers of “dry old skin” in the process.
Here are a few take-aways from these Thinking Booster conversations and a questionnaire at the end you can use in your own workplace.
Spring clean your foundations
Organisations that feel the need to pivot, should step back first and look at cleaning old toxic habits and ensure that the following items are analysed. Review with humility and honesty how you were handling these BEFORE the pandemic.
- In no particular order, look at how you were managing your finances (overspends, mis-allocation of funds, late payments, unstainable activities, etc. ), your resources (lack of, or wasted resources).
- Look at what you thought was your minimum viable product (MVP) and which processes were put in place to get your products or services to market (even as a charity).
Rushing into a new business model will not erase bad habits. So it is important, for a short period, to highlight the past negatives and spring clean these before you move on to your next steps. You have a short window to do this. Now is the time. Use a couple of external helpers, mentors or your savvier board members to help you do that.
Boost your Participatory Habits
Leaders need change their attitude to “power” and understand how to be more participatory in their decision-making. They should definitely involve representatives and diverse groups of staff, stakeholders and other participants in the brainstorming, sense-making and strategic thinking in order to have a “clean” snapshot of the new reality.
Change doesn’t come naturally for everyone. Even for leaders. And lack of relevant data is lethal. Therefore, designing with your stakeholders, not for, is crucial.
The leader holding the baton can set the pace – accelerate or decelerate – but shouldn’t skip collective decision-making. Think “Orchestra”. You are all playing together.
Include – Include – Include
The @CharitySoWhite collective has launched its new report on Racial Injustice in the Covid-19 Response”, a live position paper looking at the impacts of this crisis on BAME communities and why charities// social enterprises should put them at the heart of their COVID19 response. I found it was necessary to include this in here, as you redesign your offer. Boost your lenses but don’t erect screens. Leave no one behind.
Bring in Relevant Advisors
Advisory / Supervisory / Non-Executive Board members are showing their true colours now.
Invite new non-executive board members who are genuinely accustomed to using tools and techniques that can help in unpredictable times (Agile, Scrum, Futures Thinking, storytelling for extreme scenarios building, and robust coaching /communication skills to help the team “think” and “do” better as opposed to hammering some vague advice, that everybody in your B.A.U team has already considered. This is not helping.
Build for the “day after”
Rethinking our society, our governance system, our priorities, our public services, should not be the sole responsibility of elected officials and political leaders. France, for instance, has recently launched a platform for consultation and action, where everyone can share their thoughts, share initiatives that work and concrete proposals to build the world of tomorrow.
Citizens, workers, community groups, social enterprises, trade unionists, experts, elected officials: everyone has the right to contribute and reinvent a common model of society by being proactive and design proposals around what they consider to be priorities.
These are the questions for this national consultation. It strikes me you can use this set for our own organisations as well, as we are resetting the game.
- Here’s the original questionnaire to “rethink” the nation:
- What matters the most is health! What kind of health system do we want for tomorrow?
- What future of work do we want?
- More sobriety – towards a society with reduced consumption?
- “More good than goods”: how to rebuild solidarity/community between people?
- Education: how to build a learning society?
- Humans and Machines: (how) can we humanise the digital world?
- Open democracy: How to share power?
- Territories/regions and metropoles: What is the new deal between cities and rural areas?
- How to collaborate better with Europe and the world?
- Our wealth is invisible, so, beyond GDP, how to better measure the common good?
- Towards better financial models and how to best redistribute wealth?
Here are my adapted questions for you to “rethink” your organisation, post COVID-19
1. What matters the most is health!
- How will health (physical, mental and organisational health) be valued in our company
- What will it look like if it becomes reality?
- What is our alarm system to stop poor health getting even worse?
2. What future of work do we want?
- How does our organisation look like when we are totally online, or using flexible shifts,
- What better organisation do we become when we value parental leave for real.
- What are our ways of working looking like when we respect night time, family time, and time to regenerate?
- Is our organisation a proactive or reactive organisation, is it something that should continue tomorrow, what does it say about our core offering? Is the staff really suited to be part of this? Vice versa, are we wasting valuable talent staff, as we insist on running the same type of operations?
- How do we need to rethink employment in our organisation if we want to be more positively and socially impactful? Are we perpetuating the problem and how have we carefully avoided to look at this issue?
3. More sobriety – towards a society with reduced consumption?
- How is our organisation utilizing resources?
- What is our relationship to waste?
- Are we avoiding investing in quality just because we need cheap and fast?
4. More good than goods: how to rebuild solidarity/community between people?
- How is the notion of support, mutual aid translated into our organisation?
- Is it a just in time behaviour or is it genuinely embedded in the organisation culture? What would it take to get feedback from the team?
- Does solidarity stop at 5pm?
- Have we really eradicated bullying?
- How do we translate love and value in our every day actions?
5. Education: how to build a learning society?
- How are people supported into learning and adjusting their behaviour?
- What budget or time credits are available for them to learn something new?
- How do we analyse results, is it really about hours of mentoring/classes taken or rather outcomes for the individual and impact throughout the organisation?
- How is learning applied, really?
- Why do we justify absence of training by our lack of budget?
6. Humans and Machines: (how) can we humanise the digital world?
- We might have the latest cybersecurity accreditation but how is each individual in the company really connected to the notions of privacy, safety, internet freedom, digital literacy?
- What is our relationship to machines and do we know how to stop using them?
- What are we not doing when we are using machines?
7. Open democracy: how to share power?
- Are your sub committees and working groups really holding power, or are they just a window dressing?
- Or when they have come up with an evidenced -based decision, is their process sabotaged and thrown out with the bath water?
- What do our leaders have to lose, when they actually lose power? (Check the work of the Losing Control collective – We are a peer-led network of individuals who want to share power to unleash social change )
8. Territories/Regions and Metropoles: What is the new deal between cities and rural areas? This is a question you can transfer to:
- How is our team distributed locally, remotely, physically, internationally?
- What power relationships exist in this context
- What is the level of privilege some on our team hold over others, because of this?
- How does this influence the way we run our ship?
9. How to collaborate better with Europe and the world?
This one can become “how do we interact with our competitors?
- What is the new deal?
- Should we become “partners” instead of competitors? If so, what would our work look like?
- What is our relationship with our customers and participants?
- What kind of interaction do we want with our investors, grant providers?
- What value do we actually bring about in our ecosystem?
- Should we make space for better organisations, or instead, merge?
- Are we redundant and shouldn’t we just go?
10. Our wealth is invisible, so, how to better measure the common good?
This is a classic: what impact are we making … REALLY! And of course how will we measure this?
11. Towards better financial models and how to best redistribute wealth?
- How do we compensate our staff, leaders included?
- Is there a gender pay gap, an ethnicity pay gap, a disability pay gap?
- Is employee ownership on the agenda? And even there, is the way it is set up really making any difference in terms of wealth redistribution and power. *There’s more to it that the title…
- If we were 100% intersectionally focused and , how would the redistribution of wealth look like?
If you are interested in knowing what a series of thinking boosters could do for your business, if you need to adjust your organisation’s ways of working or your leadership in this complex, unpredictable, and unlinear time, leave me a message to arrange an intro chat with no obligation; or book your next Thinking Boosters straight away.