April Showers Bring May Flowers

“April showers bring May flowers.” At first, I wasn’t sure why that thought popped into my head when these beautiful hyacinths arrived just in time for Easter weekend. But then I realized, it’s a metaphor for the past year.  We’ve been in a seemingly endless period of April showers. But the flowers reminded me that while the rain is very real, it can cause something beautiful and hopeful to bloom if we are patient.

That’s the evolution I’m seeing in organizations, and it’s giving me hope. It’s happening because of the rain, not in spite of it.  One client (a pretty traditional organization) is currently preparing to present their next-stage recommendations for hybrid flexible and remote work to their Executive Leadership Team.  At the beginning of the report, before the recommendations begin, the internal team decided to include the following excerpt from a recent Wall Street Journal article by Jason Gay entitled, “As a Window Opens, a Plea for Patience and Grace”:

A little humility is advisable because a little humility is always advisable. This crisis is still throwing punches, after the bell, and we aren’t going to simply leap off the canvas. The news is full of hopeful predictions about recovery—when we’re going to feel better about getting out in the world, going on an airplane, heading back to the office, resuming the old, hectic patterns we’d taken for granted. I would be thrilled to get there. Sign me up for all of it. Nothing would make me happier than being safely stuffed on a plane full of sunburned people, coming back from somewhere fun. Even if it lands at LaGuardia.

Still: it’s not going to be instant. It’s not going to feel like flipping a switch. Hidden traumas abound. I presume we’re all a little different now. How can we not be? This past year has challenged everyone in unforeseen ways, and a lot of us are just coming to terms with it. There are probably changes still imperceptible. Hopefully, some of the change is for good. How lovely would it be if we all got a little more forgiving of each other, and of ourselves, too? How beautiful would it be if we all became better neighbors? Patience remains important. So does grace. The road may be opening up, but the road remains long.

Wow. I wanted to see how that passage made a difference when you read the recommendations.  So I read the draft report twice. Once with the excerpt and once without. With the passage, the possibilities for how, when, and where work could be done in the recommendations were more real and compelling. It was clear they were based on lessons learned during a period of challenge and resilience that isn’t over yet.

April showers bring May flowers.  Whether you are celebrating a holiday this week or simply enjoying the first signs of Spring, I wish you hope for the blossoming of better things to come after the rain.

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