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Monday, April 06, 2020

Turn it Up

In times of crisis we are required to act differently in order to respond appropriately. Our ability to quickly decide what "differently" means and wholeheartedly commit to resourcing the new response is key. 

One of the things I have realized in this crisis is that the appropriate next step is to take whatever action we were planning and "turn it up." Here are three examples:

  1. Turn up the Urgency: In a global crisis that is impacting most daily activity and all global systems, the interrelationships and cascading impacts are almost impossible to predict. This means that whatever the urgency you and your organization have about the impacts of this crisis, it is probably not comprehensive enough. I am not encouraging us to worry, but I am encouraging you to recognize that this crisis will probably impact most areas of your organization and have implications for most of your programs and operations. It is good to turn up the urgency organizationally to help the whole team recognize this and respond appropriately. 
  2. Turn up the Empathy: People are struggling at every level: emotionally, relationally, financially and so on. This means that we need to be sensitive to what our family members, coworkers, neighbors and even strangers are struggling to cope with. This empathy will need to be shown in everyday courtesies, accommodations to normal routines and special interventions to show love and care. The increase in empathy will keep our people encouraged and supported as they strive to continue their work even as they are burdened with the crisis. 
  3. Turn up the Communication: In a crisis we are so busy with the details of our response that our communication tends to suffer. We tend to default to general communications that keep distance between us and others going through the crisis. This can be a coping mechanism as we don't always know how to answer the hard questions. We need to reject that temptation and lean into specific and personal communications that address the real issues surrounding the crisis. 

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