The Coronavirus has created a world-wide, existential re-set. We did not seek transformation, it found us, in the form of a tiny virus. Like an unexpected phone call the impetus for transformation just appeared. Joseph Campbell in his work on The Hero’s Journey identified patterns in how people and societies transform, that show up in our myths and stories, movies and literature. Hamlet, Luke Skywalker, Neo got the call, and so did Rosa Parks, Joan of Arc and Sally Ride. Getting the call for transformation did not make these people heroes, but how they answered it did. All kinds of heroes, in social movements, politics, education, theatre and business reveal to us that successful transformation follows a pattern. Here are 4 parts of that pattern (modified for business) that every business should be implementing.
1. Adopt a mindset of full accountability. Certainly, we aren’t responsible for the virus or the damage it has caused, but if our response comes from a mindset of full accountability, we’ll remain calm and present and make decisions with the right mix of facts, input and wisdom. We’ll be open to new ideas. We won’t overreact to regain control. We won’t overuse our tenacity and become a micromanager and cause more frustration and chaos. We also won’t underreact by adopting a wait and see attitude.
2. Find the lessons. As Ram Dass said; we all signed up for the school of life but spend most of our lives complaining about the curriculum. Now is the time to find and document lessons learned. Engage your team and leadership in the discussion. By identifying what you’re learning about yourselves, each other, crisis management, a new process, a better way to serve your clients, etc., it answers the question our souls are asking, “why is this happening?” Be the leader who finds and communicates meaning. It would be a real shame if we came out of this crisis and tried to go back to the way things were and learned nothing.
3. Collect stories of good. Spend time sharing the stories of people going above and beyond, the ordinary heroes who’re modeling the best of humankind. Find random acts of kindness and draw connections back to your culture. Let these stories help reflect who you are and who you are becoming.
4. Design your future. Before we know it the crisis will subside, the virus will move on and the economy will begin to come back. Take your lessons learned, your stories of good and strategize your future. Begin planting seeds now so that in a few weeks or months they are in full bloom. Don’t wait.
As history teaches us, the Coronavirus crisis is a call for transformation. How we answer the call will have a huge impact on the quality of our lives and if our businesses survive or thrive.