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How Coronavirus is Changing the Collaborative Landscape

Apr 17, 2020

How is the current pandemic changing the way that teams work together? The changes in work life patterns due to Coronavirus have shifted our perspectives in several areas. Today, I want to focus specifically on how this pandemic––and its implications for both leaders and staff–– is changing the way we collaborate as teams.

The ways in which your team members bring value to your organization is shifting. It’s not just working remotely that’s causing a change; in fact, working remotely is the catalyst for a much more important shift–– a shift in our mindset. No longer do we view certain team members as essential simply by merit of their positions. No longer do we discount team members who used to be “behind-the-scenes,” because now, they’re bringing services that we need to survive. Our entire perspective on value in the workplace is changing.

For example, IT teams are generally discounted amongst the different departments of any given organization. No one wants to talk to the IT team unless there’s a problem. Isn’t it true that, the less of your IT team you see, the better things are usually going? It would be easy, as a leader, to underestimate the value of this sector of your organization...but not anymore. That dynamic has totally flipped now. Where the IT team may have been close to the bottom of your list, now they are right there at the top. Without them, how could you have the same virtual impact on those you serve?

What does this shift mean for the future of collaboration? What does it mean for retention? It means we have to make changes. Our collaboration has shifted, and so has the way we view our team members. These things will never go back to exactly what they used to be–– and they shouldn’t! This is a time when everybody needs everybody. We’ve begun to appreciate the contributions of each team member; we’ve begun to evaluate the value everybody brings to the table. The focus is no longer who’s at the top–– it’s survival as a whole. 

In the last week or so, I have talked to literally hundreds of leaders all over the world—Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Philippines, Canada, U.S. They are asking themselves, “Who do I need to actually keep?” I’ll tell you who the keepers are. Keepers are people with only one quality: the ability to bring solutions. The irreplaceable will always be irreplaceable–– and you make yourself irreplaceable by offering solutions.  

Here’s the bottom line: if we miss out on this moment of high-level collaboration, we’ll have lost a major opportunity in our organizations. To take advantage of this season requires that you see your team in a new light, and open yourself up to new ways of collaborating. It requires that you truly assess who is essential and who is not, with an unbiased perspective. Collaboration has improved in many ways already, and it has the potential to keep improving...if we capitalize on this moment. 

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