Good Community Podcast: Reimagine the Way We Work

Recently, I joined leadership coach and author Marney Andes as a guest on her Community Good podcast. We covered so many topics bookended by two important concepts:
  • First, acknowledge that the traditional work model was already disappearing before the pandemic and how the pandemic accelerated that trend in a really disruptive and chaotic way, and…
  • Second, knowing the way we work is forever changed, how do we take advantage of the opportunity to collectively reimagine how, when, and where we do our best work now and into the future?
While COVID launched us full speed into crisis mode, I’ve been helping organizations reimagine work for more than two decades. During my conversation with Marney, I shared some of the traits that clients and leaders demonstrated way before COVID that were foundational to successfully transforming their workplaces into high performing flexible organizations.

These were forward-thinking visionary leaders that recognized the world of work was changing and said, “Let’s do this.” And because they were willing to lead, they were ready for COVID’s almost overnight shift to flexibility in the extreme.

Unfortunately, before COVID, I also had a lot of experiences where I got the “slow clap” from leaders who seemed to find what I had to say interesting but they definitely weren’t willing to give it a try. That attitude left them unprepared for the pandemic’s forced disruption.

Optimistically as we moved past the pandemic, I thought for sure everybody would be on board, but we’re still seeing an incredible number of leaders trying to mandate their way back to an operational model that, even before the pandemic, wasn’t working. These tend to be the same leaders who simply want to delegate flexibility to the HR department instead of optimizing how their workforce performs at high levels working across workplaces, spaces, and time with an all-hands-on-deck approach.

“Everybody’s got to be involved in the process. We all have come at this from a shared desire to succeed and step away from our respective assumptions about what has to happen. We have to begin to experiment with new ways of working. We may have to try a few times, but everybody comes at this in good faith.

“We have to give each other a lot of grace right now. We have to understand that we’re all doing our best.

“We forget we have gone through a historic overnight radical disruption of the way we worked. To think that we’re going to come out the other side of that and either just go back to where we were before, or that we won’t have to rethink things, isn’t realistic.”

These challenges aside, listen as Marney and I dive into what culture and connection really mean (it’s not about buzzwords), how younger workers are naturally inclined to do flexibility better, and why it remains critically important for retention, engagement, and well-being for employees to find their best work+life fit.