Leading Coronavirus Transformation
“Where do we stand in this transformation? How can we best deal with it?” It’s a question we often get from our customers, that world leaders are also asking themselves in the transformation that the coronavirus is now forcing them to make.
We often end up with our clients in situations where a transformation has to take place or is already taking place. Fortunately, no people die, but they also often have to make difficult decisions about the new strategy, structure, culture and people.
We have developed a specific transformation model with four phases of transformation. The first phase of a transformation is that you are ‘unconsciously incompetent’ and therefore do not know that you have to transform. You experience that everything is going well and you have no idea that a big change is coming. This was the phase when the coronavirus stayed in China and we in the Netherlands still thought it would stay there, based on the previous virus SARS, which had started in China and then had not come to the Netherlands. A month ago, everything went very well in the Netherlands, the economy was in full swing, we were busy getting the environment in order and the most important economic question was whether or not to borrow an extra fifty billion euros.
The second transformation phase is ‘consciously incompetent’ – you are aware that something is wrong and that a change must take place quickly. We are now in that phase in the Netherlands, because the coronavirus has arrived in our country and in Europe and is causing many sick and unfortunately also dead people. This phase is very difficult, because we don’t know what to do against the virus and we don’t have a solution for it yet. It is also a frustrating phase, where we have to do a lot of research, try a lot of new things, to find out what works. A phase in which a lot goes wrong, because we do not yet know the right way to the solution. We take small steps forward and sometimes we take two steps forward and one step back. We also have to let go of our old behaviour and learn new behaviour in order to be effective in the new situation. Just as we are now all learning to keep a meter and a half distance from each other and have to wash our hands much more often.
If we persevere we will enter the third phase: ‘consciously competent’. In this phase you have found the right solution for your problem and you know much better what to do and what not to do. In the case of the coronavirus, we have then found the right approach, medicine and vaccine to control the virus.
If we follow the new approach and continue to use it, we will enter the fourth transformation phase: ‘unconsciously competent’. Here we automatically know what to do and are transformed to a new level where we can effectively deal with the new normal.
8 tips for rest in the second phase
The most difficult transformation phase is the second phase, in which the Netherlands is now with the coronavirus, because we do not yet know exactly how to solve the current, very challenging situation. This creates uncertainty, unrest and fear, which can make us tend to try very hard – fight – or panic and paralyze ourselves – flee. The trick is to stay calm in this phase. At People Change we have discovered that a number of tips work very well:
1. Focus on what you can do in the current new situation and much less or not on what you can not. Find out what you can do in your organization, in your team as a manager or professional, because that gives energy, direction and the solution.
2. Give your best people and your experts the most responsibility and the most budget, because they are now best suited to find the solution. In this phase, you want your best people to lead the way. This is about knowledge and quality and not about hierarchical position in the organization.
3. Together with your colleagues, make a clear vision board with personal and professional activities that you would like to do and that will benefit everyone.
4. Focus on the facts and experts in order to understand the reality in which you find yourself as well as possible. The better you understand it, the quicker you will often find the right solution.
5. Accept the reality that it will take a long time to find the solution and implement it successfully. A transformation is often not a sprint, but more like a marathon.
6. Investigate different options at the same time, so you can see what works and what doesn’t. In this phase it is better to investigate too much than too little.
7. Implement step by step. By taking small steps and investments, you spread the risk and the budget. The advantage is that you don’t immediately lose your entire budget to one solution. When you find the right solution
8. Celebrate small advances and successes together. This will keep you motivated while many things might go wrong, because you are still learning.
Would you like to know more about our transformation approach? Watch our video about transforming:
Please contact us to talk about your transformation and see how we can help you to make sure that your companyyou’re your people get through the current transformation in the right process, step by step. We wish all companies, executives, entrepreneurs and professionals a lot of strength and wisdom in the current corona transformation.