By: Cherry Birch On: July 1, 2020

Like most people I have attended numerous webinars over the last few months and one poll question raised in a webinar this week was whether the COVID-19 pandemic had had a positive impact on organisations. The majority thought it had.  So I decided to reflect on what have been the positives for me – what I have learnt.

Here are my top 5:

1. Blessed to live in Australia

I am originally from the UK and lived/worked in London for many years. Whilst I know we should not be complacent, I do feel safe here – as long as I follow all the social distancing guidelines. I contrast this with someone I coached this week who is in Dubai. He and his family are afraid to go outdoors. He was very emotional about the stress he is currently feeling. That fear level is not something I have experienced.

2. Autopilot no more

I read a great article by McKinsey looking at the finance function post COVID-19. It used a flight as an analogy and referenced COVID-19 as being turbulence. For much of the journey the plane was on autopilot, but when the turbulence hit, the pilot needed to take manual control, he/she then needed to work out multiple flight paths, constantly monitor the dashboard and remain on constant alert ready to make some fast decisions. The turbulence is far from over, scenario planning and contingency resourcing are ongoing and we need to be constantly vigilant, agile and ready for the next challenge. Will we ever feel confident enough to return to autopilot? I have learnt to accept that things will never ‘go back to normal’ as we knew it.

3. Reaching out to others

My view is that now is not the time to try to market services to drive revenue. Companies and individuals, with very few exceptions, are hurting. Instead I have been reaching out to offer free services and resources to both my clients and my connections. I have had some great conversations with new Linked In connections. I get such a buzz when I can help. One specific example was the other week when I had a phone chat with a new connection, who after we had talked for some time, asked me if I would be his mentor. I am so honoured to be asked and hope I can help him going forward. In return he offered to share his experience in a specialist area.

4. New Zoom skills!

Polls, break out rooms, annotation, virtual backgrounds and interactive on line exercises to engage people – I am fast becoming an expert! Do I prefer this way of delivering corporate training? No – this will never fully replace face to face for me and I question its effectiveness for some topics, but I am working to constantly enhance my skills with online platforms.

5. We are all so different!

WFH has been so tough for some and relished by others. From our family situations to our personalities, the permutations are endless in terms of how we have been affected by the pandemic and how we have reacted. Never assume – we all know that but can so easily forget. We cannot over communicate.

So these are my top 5. It was close since I also thought of including my newly learned phrases e.g. social distancing, flattening the curve, reproduction number, WFH and then of course how could I not mention my enhanced wine knowledge – my commitment to my wine appreciation through experiential learning has been exemplary during COVID-19!

Stay safe!