A Much Different World

Picture a lemon in a vise. As the vise tightens, some juice starts to leak out from a few small cracks. From then on, it takes just a little more cranking until the lemon is squeezed so tight, it simply bursts. There are many leaders today who may feel like they are that lemon, and the vise is continuing to tighten.

There is so much written about change that people have become numbed by all the noise, and the impact of the message gets lost. So let me un-numb you, because the changes we are currently experiencing are very real and cut deep. And those changes are creating some enormous challenges and squeezing pressures.

Think about this. Just 20 months ago…

  • many front-line workers were being hailed as heroes. Whether police, firefighters, nurses, or whatever, these folks were putting themselves in harm’s way every day, to help care for people or keep them as safe as possible. They slept in their garages or in broom closets at work, to avoid any chance of contaminating others with a relatively unknown, but deadly virus known as Covid-19.
  • The same sentiments were offered for many senior leaders in companies. They closed offices and allowed as many as possible to work at home. For those “have to be on site” workers they designated specific spaces, even hallways for workers, so there would be the absolute minimum exposure to others. Plexiglas became a workplace staple. The goal was to keep the business running, while ensuring no chance of the virus being spread in the workplace. And survey after survey showed people giving high marks to their companies for the efforts to keep employees as “safe as humanly possible.”
  • The government was scrambling to find money to provide to employers, so they could keep people on the payroll as the world-wide and local economies tanked. People were truly suffering, from the actual loss of work or simply the fear of suddenly being jobless.

In your wildest dreams would you have ever imagined that only a year and a half later…

  • Front line workers who won’t get vaccinated are scorned.
  • Senior leadership is vilified for mandating vaccinations as a requirement for keeping one’s job.
  • And there is an abundance of supply chain issues, mainly because there are nowhere near enough workers to fill the jobs – for a variety of reasons.

Talk about a major “disturbance in the force.” In the past twenty months, it feels as if twenty years of changes have occurred. The world is indeed a much different place than it was a short time ago.

One thing we know for sure – when the world changes, so must you. You cannot rely on the same recruitment, onboarding and daily in person management strategies you have successfully used in the past to ensure you have enough of the right kind of workers to keep the doors open and the business growing. Now is the time for you to think about you – your beliefs, perspectives, comfort zones, and so forth. Like the world around you, you will have to change. And some of that change may have to be very big, to adapt to the similar size changes going on around you. The ability to anticipate, embrace, and proactively respond to change is one competence you must commit to continuously improving. The “old you” will not be strong enough to stop the vise of today from tightening and tightening.

The good old days of 2019 are gone forever. So say goodbye and starting today, get on to the task of developing the new you, and crafting a new playbook. And since we all know that dramatic change will continue to occur, it is probably best not to write it in ink!

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