In this issue:
Given COVID-19, whatever we “knew” about our organizations or work is out the window now. I thought I might help with this three-part series about how you can manage in this time of crazy-making change.
This three-part series is:
- How you can help yourself (before helping others). (This newsletter)
- How you might support others, regardless of your title or position. (Next installment.)
- How to think about your business when planning might seem useless. (Yes, you plan. You plan differently.)
This part is about helping yourself. Because, if you're not able to think, you can't do anything for the people you serve or your organization.
Virginia Satir, a family therapist, wrote a lot about change. I use her Change Model in my work. (You might like Where Are You in Your Changes?)
Problems are not the problem; coping is the problem.
That's why this newsletter installment is about how you might think about your coping.
Tip 1: Practice Calm
In these newsletters (and in my articles and on my blog), I rarely suggest “don't” language. (As in “Don't Panic.”) How can you know what you should or could do instead?
That's why I recommend you “Practice Calm.”
You might not be calm now. That's why I suggested Practice. If you aren't quite at Practice, consider these verbs: Create, Build, Discover. Put a verb in front of Calm and see if you can practice that. That's one way of coping with the problem.
Tip 2: Put On Your Own Mask First
When we fly, we always hear the announcement about the masks if the cabin loses pressure: “Put on your own mask first.” Well, we've lost a whole bunch of normal pressure–and we have plenty of abnormal pressure. You can't be effective—regardless of your position—unless you take care of yourself first.
Consider these possibilities:
- Do you have sufficient tooling to interact with your collaborators? (See 7 Tool Tips for Your Newly Distributed or Remote Team for some ideas.) If you can work with people you know what they need, too.
- Make sure you do some form of exercise throughout the day. I've discovered that shorter exercise sessions more frequently during the day works for me. They might work for you, too.
- Drink enough water. The nice thing about drinking enough is you have to stand up at regular intervals. And, while you're standing up, you might take a brief walk or stretch or do a little strength training.
You might like the ideas in Three Tips for Managing Your Newly-Remote Day. If you can create your sustainable day, you can collaborate with and support others.
Tip 3: Say, “I Don't Know” and “Will You Help?”
None of us can predict the future. We can't predict for our colleagues, for our organizations, and definitely not for the greater society. In the absence of data, people make up stories. And, if you hold a position of authority or influence, people might ask you what you think will happen.
If you don't know, say, “I don't know about that.” If you can't say anything because of your fiduciary responsibilities, you might say, “We're working on that. I'm not sure when I can share our results.”
Often, people want to know you're not ignoring the crises they see. They want to know you're working on it.
You might also ask for help. When you ask for help, people feel honored that you ask. And, they might feel a sense of purpose they didn't have before. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
I'm Not Quite Nuts…
There's a lot about this situation that frustrates me. I bet you're also frustrated. And, when I break the problem into smaller pieces, I realize I'm pretty good at coping with many of the pieces of the various problems. You might also be good at some pieces. That means we're coping. I'll take coping with some problems over no coping any day.
Next week, I'll address how you might support other people. And, if you have questions, email me. I might have some ideas to support you. Or, you might support me. Let's cope together.
Gil Broza and I canceled the Influential Agile Leader. (You're not surprised!) We're taking this time to revisit the content.
See Distributed Agile Success for all of my self-study classes with Mark Kilby.
- You might like the no-cost self-study class called Rapidly Remote.
- Prepare for Successful Distributed Agile Teams is a deep dive into the principles and mindshifts you need for distributed success.
- Succeed as a Distributed Agile Team is all the team-based information. (We're working on a leadership class.)
- We also created a bundle of Prepare and Succeed so you could take advantage of a substantial discount.
I hope to announce more classes in the next month, but maybe not before the next installment of this newsletter.
Are you new to the Pragmatic Manager newsletter? See previous issues.
Here are links you might find useful:
- My Books. (BTW, if you enjoyed one of my books and you have not yet left a review, please do. Thanks.)
- Online Workshops
- Managing Product Development Blog
- Create an Adaptable Life
- Johanna's Fiction
Till next time,
© 2020 Johanna Rothman
Tags: change, geographically distributed teams, leadership, trust