While weathering the tide here in New York City these last six weeks, I’ve collected some notes, news, and photos and I thought I’d pass on a few. I hope they provide a measure of help as you work through this crazy time.
Scenario Your Way Forward
It’s darn hard to think about the future just now, especially your organization’s future. The unknowns are enormous. What sort of operating environment will we face three months from now? Six months from now? Good heavens, 12 months from now?
To try to deal with the uncertainties, a number of organizations are using scenarios, thinking in terms of alternative futures — a worst-case situation, a best-case situation, and circumstances that are mixed. This seems like a practical way to get the mind and the group thinking again.
Give it a try. Don’t look too far ahead – just, say, 3 to 6 months from now. Think about a few what ifs and make some contingency plans. Don’t skimp on the worst-case scenario — a big-time lesson from this crisis.
Once you get into the work, you may just find that the mere act of thinking helps restore some balance to your team and your organization.
Treat Employees Well
I had a Zoom call with an old high school friend last week (Haven’t we all?) He’s a labor lawyer and he had what I thought were some wise words. He’s telling clients at the companies he works with that their employees will remember forever the way the company treats them now. He urges them to demonstrate humanity to the maximum extent possible – to behave like people and treat people like people, whether it’s schedule reductions, furloughs, layoffs, or even just day-to day.
This strikes me as the right way to work in any case, but a way that will reward any organization looking to retain good people for the long term, or attract them back when times get better.
Speaking of Zoom…
It’s been a great way to connect with family and friends, hasn’t it? But as far as our work-lives, we need to step back and get a grip on it. Techno-space-time has taken over and turned the workday into the Zoomday. The 9:00 Zoom goes right into the 10:00 to 12:00 Zoom, and then there’s the 12:00-1:00 Zoom, followed by the 1:00-1:30, and on across the whole day. It’s as if the Zoomday is a stand-in for activity, for anxiety about seeming productive while working from home.
If you’re a boss, you need to recognize this problem, and if you’re trapped in it, it’s time to speak up. Everyone needs time to reflect, to recharge…to eat or go to the bathroom for goodness sake! So, find ways to create pauses that work for you and your organization. And there needs to be genuine “authorization” from the top to do it. Connection is a good thing, but when it wears us down, it isn’t.
Here’s some encouraging news via Philanthropy News Digest for anyone involved in land conservation. Amazon is putting a decent chunk of funding into nature-based climate solutions in the form of helping smaller, family-owned forests access carbon markets (read $$). Click here for more information.