How to Thrive in the Aftermath of COVID19

We all have been facing crises, some personal while others corporate level. We aren’t new to a crisis. It was and it’ll continue to co-exist with us.

At this moment, we are dealing with one of the toughest crises in human history. So far, it broke our hearts by claiming hundreds of thousands of precious souls. It made millions sick and out of work.

What is more? We don’t know what will happen tomorrow, next week, nor next month for that matter because of the crisis’s direct and indirect impacts.

Unlike the frequent crises we individually and corporately face, the COVID19 related crisis is different only because it has a global magnitude. Even then, this crisis isn’t new. We had crises like this in history. Though each one of these crises with global magnitude and scope was different in terms of their causes and impacts, they all shared the same characteristics, which COVIDE19 crisis also shares.

As I discussed in the previous blogs, a crisis is an extreme form of unplanned change. It is:

  • Sudden, or at least, it catches us by surprise.
  • We don’t have direct control
  • It feels like we are helpless and victims.
  • And so on.

Another nature of crisis many of us forget once we are under its attack is the feeling of it is here to stay. We’re so stressed out and pressured dealing with the direct and indirect consequences of this crisis, we may fail to stop for a moment and acknowledge that it’s not permanent. It will go away at the end of the day.

What we know from history is that all crises came and gone, they are now just history. The COVID19 related crisis too won’t be exceptional. What we don’t know yet is when it is going to evaporate or at least stop savaging the lives of precious people. Otherwise, this too shall pass.

The question is, if it is here not to stay, what are we doing right now as we deal with its immediate impacts to prepare ourselves and go beyond just surviving this crisis? How are we spending our time right now? Are we dividing it between spending on immediate and future needs? Are we strategic and positioning ourselves not only to outlast if it prolongs but also to thrive in the aftermath?

Today, I want to use this opportunity to emphasize the importance of reminding ourselves again and again that this crisis isn’t here to stay. I also want to ask you this question and please answer it adequately: What should you be doing right now in the middle of this crisis, first, to outlast it and then to position yourself (your career, organization, and community) to thrive in its aftermath?

Unfortunately, by its nature, crisis pressures many to focus on survival neglecting the future altogether. Yes, we must first, individually, and corporately survive. Otherwise, there may not be any future at all. However, while surviving, it is important to prepare for the new normal.

Ask yourself:

  • What kind of place do you and/or your organization/community will have in the new normal?
  • Will you be relevant?
  • Will you be competitive?
  • Will you have leverage and competitive advantages?

We have to be proactive to create a future where we have a meaningful place in the new normal. There are certain things within our control right in the middle of doing our best to survive this crisis. Though we may not have lots of control during a crisis like this, there are some within our scope and means. We can do something while dealing with the direct and indirect impacts of COBID19 to survive this difficult time so as to have a favorable future when it all ends. You can do so many things but, the bare minimum, I suggest three things that are within your reach:

  1. Reform. This crisis has shown all of us individually and collectively our weak links, where we failed in the past. This is time to make some changes, really deep changes. Of course, you should not change what must not change. The main things such as who you are, your mission, and what you stand for- your values, must survive. The changes you should execute in the different aspects of your life, career, and organization should enable you to deal with past weaknesses and limitations that exposed you or made you vulnerable during this crisis. That way, not only you outlast this crisis in the NOW but it also positions you to deal with the next unforeseeable crises with more resilience and capabilities. You should be in a better position than where you were when this crisis began.
  2. Grow. You must use the downtime right now to grow individually and collectively. You have to become better and stronger, which in turn, equips you to outlast if in case this crisis stays longer. It also positions you to have a more promising future in the long term. Grow holistically.
  3. Innovate. When you reform, you are trying to deal with past inadequacies to survive. When you grow, you are building your current capabilities to outlast. Though these are great and will definitely empower you to outlast and even thrive in the aftermath, you need to innovate to create your own future in the aftermath through innovation. Don’t bury your head in the sand. Don’t attempt to just keep your head above the water. Unleash your creative genius! This is a golden chance to be creative and dictate the future and then lead it.

Episode 13 is the last one to focus solely on the crisis. I’ll have another theme for the coming couple of episodes. Of course, I’ll definitely provide some leadership tips in these episodes that may empower you during this hard time.

In Episode 13, I talked about how to thrive in the aftermath. I’ve explained the above three approaches and gave some interesting stories one from the US- Kodak vs. Fuji, and another one from Ethiopia- Ethiopian Airlines.

Below is the video clip. Watch it and let me know your thoughts.

If you haven’t yet, make sure to subscribe to this channel so that you won’t miss future episodes. Like, leave your comments, and share it with those who may benefit from the show.

If you prefer to listen to the podcast version, here you go:

If you haven’t yet, connect with me on social media. Go to www.assegid.com and on the top left side, you will find the social media icons. I post multiple times a day inspirational and informative messages. Engage with me on social media and let the learning continues until we see each other again with another episode.

By the way, I also released an online course ‘Overcoming First-Timer Syndrome’ for Team Leads, Project Managers, Supervisors, and Business Owners. The course has 11 modules. Each module has 30 – 45 minutes of video teaching and a worksheet that summarizes the main discussion points, learning objectives plus lots of assignments. There are also some downloadable samples and templates. To learn more about the course, check out this page: https://www.successpws.com/first-timer

Webinar Recording on Managing Emotions in the COVID19 Era

On April 25th, 2020, PRO Leadership- a nonprofit organization I helped found, arranged a webinar entitled “Managing Emotions in the COVID19 Era.”

The webinar was the first of a series of webinars. It aimed at equipping leaders to understand and develop their emotional fitness during this tough time caused because of COVID19 pandemic. It was also designed to empower leaders to tap into their own emotions and the emotions of others to cope with, outlast, and ultimately come out stronger once this is all over.

It was arranged for PRO Leadership teams both in the diaspora and Africa. We got permission from attendees to record the webinar and share it with those who missed the webinar with leaders like yourself. Watch it and let me know your feedback. Tell me what went well and what should have been differently.

Webinar on Managing Emotions in the COVID19 Era

Crisis comes on all of us. It doesn’t have any favorites. It is stingy 

Experiencing crisis is part of life and being human. However, those who understand emotions (what emotions are, how they are formed, what triggers them, etc.), and most importantly, those who are skillful to manage their emotions and the emotions of others have a better chance to handle the stress that comes with a crisis like this.

No wonder why the wisest king who ever lived on earth said he who controls his emotions is more powerful than the one who conquers a city. Many lives are stressed out, health impacted, relationships ruined, and partnerships damaged because of a lack of emotional fitness during a crisis.

Many don’t understand their own emotions and/or the emotions of others. Even if they do, they don’t think they can do something about the uninvited and unproductive emotions that frequent them. They find themselves helpless and victims of emotions. That shouldn’t be you!!!

If you’re specially a leader, though you are impacted directly or indirectly by this pandemic like everybody else, you have an additional responsibility to serve your communities with courage and emotional fitness during this tough time. Taking this into account, one of the non-profit organizations I volunteer for has arranged a free webinar that will be conducted this coming Saturday on April 25th. For details, please check out this link https://proleadership.org/?p=1886

Though this webinar was arranged for our Teams both here in the Diaspora and Africa, we have enough seats to invite some of our past leaders and volunteers, and future prospective strategic partners and volunteers.

If you haven’t yet, this is my hope that you will join me at PRO Leadership to raise the next generation of leaders. One of the key leadership competencies during crises is our emotional fitness. We cannot lead successfully in the midst of chaos if we don’t master our emotions and engage with others at emotional level.

Therefore, if you have been one of our past leaders/volunteers or pledge to be one of our future prospective strategic partners and volunteers, and interested to join our teams as we discuss how to manage our emotions in the COVID19 Era, email your interest to info@proleadership.org to get the login info

Hope to see you then!

Dealing Dilemma During Crisis

Have you worked for or followed leaders who succeeded in the midst of crises? What differentiates those leaders who happened to remain victims of a crisis and those who led during chaotic circumstances well? What kind of leaders are successful during times full of dilemmas? What kind of leaders tend to fail when faced with distressful times where they must deal with lots of dilemmas at once?

Crisis breeds chaos. Things become unpredictable. The style, preference, and process that have been allowing you to lead successfully, they suddenly become inadequate. Your assets become liabilities. The ‘map’ you have been using to guide you ends up obsolete and unable to assist you to navigate safely during times of distress.

What you learned while in schools and the experiences you have accumulated thus far aren’t relevant any longer. You’re thrown off your game. Your programs, schedules, and routines are busted. You feel like you are starting from scratch. You become vulnerable and in a disadvantageous position. That is what you experience during a crisis.

A crisis moment is also full of contradictions. Your boundaries are no more there or unable to protect you. Uncertainty and doubt increase. With limited and sometimes inaccurate data you are expected to make decisions, sometimes tough ones. You no longer have the luxury of taking ample time to think, reflect, and run your ideas by your inner circle. The latter may not be there as they are dealing with their own crisis or clueless about what you are dealing with.

Those leaders who took the time to grow and stretch themselves are well prepared to deal with the dilemmas a crisis presents. They have been waiting for such a chaotic moment ahead of the curve. Those who haven’t are in big trouble.

Pilots who rescued their passengers, crews, and themselves from deadly crashes were those who did their homework. It wasn’t by chance they made a ‘miraculous’ maneuver. They had been there and familiar with the chaotic situation they found themselves well beyond it actually happened. They weren’t blindsided. They had already faced the incident (something similar to it) and responded to it successfully in their heads.

Smart leaders intentionally grow during peace, prosperous, and stable times to outgrow times of distress. They deliberately immunize themselves. They pass through so many simulations anticipating challenges before they surface.

The same with successful boxers. They had been training well and anticipating the deadly blows that might come from their opponents. As a result, they responded and even leveraged the moments that were intended to knock them down for their own advantages. They actually hit back with counter-attacks that led them to victories again and again. I like what Mike Tyson said, Everybody has a plan until they get hit.”

Leaders who never prepared for crisis moments, those who failed to grow during normal times on how to deal with unexpected hits from a crisis think that they are okay until they are hit by a crisis. When that happens, they don’t know what to do. They drop the ball and become ineffective leaders. They are unable to help their people come out on the other side safely and victoriously.

On the other hand, leaders who succeed during a crisis are those who can lead in the midst of contradictions very well. Leaders who are willing to bust their own boundaries. Leaders who could come out of their comfort zone quickly. Leaders who challenge their own style, preference, system, and those who have the willingness to change their approaches, reform their institutions, and continue to adapt to the unpredictable situations they face during times of distress.

Dogmatic leaders cannot lead during crisis successfully. They aren’t willing to disrupt their normal styles, routines, and approaches. They are either too rigid and unwilling to make changes or too slow to do so on time when it matters the most.

In Episode 12, I shared some of the dilemmas leaders may face. I also suggested how to deal with dilemmas during times of crisis. Below are the most common ones:

  1. Empathy vs. Toughness. There are leaders who have empathy. They put themselves in the place of others. They tend to make every decision solely based on how it affects their people. Likewise, there are leaders who base their decisions based on hardcore data and facts. They don’t hesitate to make tough decisions regardless of how these may affect their people. Depending on their industries, both could be successful. The question is: Are they willing to face the dilemma and entertain making decisions by stepping outside of their comfort zone during times of distress. For instance, leaders who incline to be empathetic all the time, are they willing to make some tough decisions during a crisis to protect the majority and the greater good even if some of their decisions may affect some. Leaders, who solely depend on data to dictate their decisions, are they willing to put the life and well being of their people first whenever necessary regardless of what the data and bottom-line says?
  2. Optimistic vs. Realistic.
  3. Programmed vs Casual.
  4. Strategic vs. Tactical

To learn more about the other three dilemmas, click below and watch Episode 12:

If you haven’t yet, make sure to subscribe to this channel so that you won’t miss future episodes. Like, leave your comments, and share it with those who may benefit from the show.

If you prefer to listen to the podcast version, here you go:

If you haven’t yet, connect with me on social media. Go to www.assegid.com and on the top left side, you will find the social media icons. I post multiple times a day inspirational and informative messages. Engage with me on social media and let the learning continues until we see each other again with another episode.

By the way, I also released an online course ‘Overcoming First-Timer Syndrome’ for Team Leads, Project Managers, Supervisors, and Business Owners. The course has 11 modules. Each module has 30 – 45 minutes of video teaching and a worksheet that summarizes the main discussion points, learning objectives plus lots of assignments. There are also some downloadable samples and templates. To learn more about the course, check out this page: https://www.successpws.com/first-timer

Leadership in Crisis (Video clip)

Have you wondered what distinguished great leaders from ordinary? Do you know what happened to leaders who failed to meet the demands of the Hour of crisis? What about those who stepped up during times of distress?

Nobody attained individual and collective greatness without passing through the ‘fire and storm’? Those who hesitated or shied away or failed to meet the demands of times of crisis not only did they unable to lead in the aftermath but also their legacy went to the drain.

Think about the leaders you and I admire. Leaders we still quote and look up to. These are the ones demonstrated great leadership during hard times such as wars, pandemics, economic meltdowns, social injustice, and so on.

Crisis makes or breaks one’s leadership. Either a leader during a crisis comes out victorious and hero/heroine or ends up being a victim of history depending on how they handle themselves during times of crisis. If they invested in their leadership growth, it shows. If not, it shows too.

We need strong leadership at all times. But, we need more of that during a crisis. What kind of leaders do we need during times of distress? Below are the 7 key leadership qualities important to succeed during tough times like right now. I’ll enlist the top three and further explain the first attribute, and encourage you to watch Episode 11 to learn more about the rest:

  1. Character. Character in leadership is an all-time necessity. Character makes or breaks one’s leadership. No one can influence another human being successfully and sustainably without character. However, the stake is high during a crisis where a leader cannot successfully lead without character especially trustworthiness. People follow leaders during crisis whom they trust; leaders who have credibility and authenticity. Unfortunately, character cannot be built overnight. If you didn’t have character prior to the crisis, it will be hard, if not impossible, to lead during times of crisis. Of course, you could be new and you haven’t yet earned your people’s trust or your character has been damaged for whatever reason and people aren’t yet there to give you their heart hundred percent. Whatever the case may be, if you don’t have the character level required to lead with authenticity and credibility, while building (rebuilding) your character, you need to borrow trust. Form a crisis management team (give it whatever name you want), empower and put them at the front. Even if you may not be at the top right now where you may not need your character right now, building/rebuilding your character takes time. Begin working on it starting from today.
  2. Empathy. One of the most important but at the same time very hard leadership competency great leaders have is empathy. Leaders must relate to their people in every situation. However, compassionate leadership is highly needed during times of crisis. More than ever, leaders should exude empathy proving their people they do actually care and understand what their people are going through. You cannot lead effectively during times of distress while you’re in the bubble and out of touch. You must come down to reality and relate with what is happening either through discerning, visiting (of course protect yourself & others when you do that during pandemics) & by being there at the frontline (in person or virtually). The challenge is keeping the balance between showing compassion to your people who are expressing tones of stress and at the same time leading the people boldly regardless of the uncertainties and harms that lay ahead. It’s possible to challenge your people to step up to the plate and share the burden while recognizing the fears, doubts, hardship, and frustration your people are experiencing throughout the journey.
  3. Resourceful. Success in leadership takes becoming resourceful. You cannot attain personal and corporate greatness by depending only on resources that are in your backyard. The bar is high during times of crisis. Surviving, outlasting & thriving in the aftermath of a crisis demands the ability to mobilize every available resource at your disposal. Be resourceful and tap into the individual and collective potential of your people by creating an atmosphere that engages your team. Leading during times of crisis also requires tapping into resources well beyond your backyard.
  4. And more.

I encourage you to watch Episode 11- Leadership in Crisis. I suggested 7 bare minimum leadership qualities leaders need to develop to outlast times of crisis and lead them safely on the other side successfully. Once you watched it, let me know your thoughts. What is the main takeaway for you? Which leadership qualities you already have? Which ones do you need to work on? How do you plan to improve them?

The follow-up 2 episodes will cover ‘Dealing Dilemmas During Crisis’, and ‘What MUST We should do During Crisis’? Don’t hesitate to send me if you have any questions that you would like me to answer in the upcoming episodes.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the channel if you haven’t yet so that you won’t miss future episodes. Like, leave your comments, and share it with those who may benefit from the show.

If you prefer to listen to the podcast version, here you go:

If you haven’t yet, connect with me on social media. Go to www.assegid.com and on the top left side, you will find the social media icons. I post multiple times a day inspirational and informative messages. Engage with me on social media and let the learning continues until we see each other again with another episode.

By the way, I also released an online course ‘Overcoming First-Timer Syndrome’ for Team Leads, Project Managers, Supervisors, and Business Owners. The course has 11 modules. Each module has 30 – 45 minutes of video teaching and a worksheet that summarizes the main discussion points, learning objectives plus lots of assignments. There are also some downloadable samples and templates. To learn more about the course, check out this page: https://www.successpws.com/first-timer

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