What a year this week has been. If a pandemic and looming climate change weren't bad enough, now we have the trauma and the socioeconomic ripple effects of war (and possibly a looming world war). It is becoming harder to answer what used to be a simple question: how are you doing? One of the best answers I've heard came from one of our clients who responded with a telling analogy: it's like popping corn in a pot with the lid missing.
It feels never-ending … COVID, floods, fires, unrest. And now a war. Here in South Africa, we have the prospect of our fuel prices doubling with knock-on effects on basic costs of living; already crippling rolling electricity blackouts, affectionately (NOT!!) known as"load shedding", and an economy teetering on the brink. Pop …Pop … Pop … and there is no way to predict what will pop next.
For a large part of the world population, this is nothing new - life without privilege and a continual fight for survival have always been tenuous. They may frown when we talk of the VUCA world, for them, it is just their world. But for those who have lived more sheltered and privileged lives, a new anxiety-provoking dawn has arrived. In the large organisations we work with, people on all levels are anxious, stressed, and fed up. For them, on top of all of this, people need to navigate the complexities of hybrid work, returning to the office, retaining talent, innovating, receiving feedback … Pop … Pop … Pop …
Covid, while traumatic and challenging, came in semi-predictable waves. The war, on the other hand, seemed to happen literally overnight. I, for one, am experiencing not only profound fatigue in the present but also "future fatigue." Suddenly thinking about the future is simply depressing and exhausting - it is tough to imagine a better future than the present.
So what can we do? While I have no answers to specific dilemmas, one thing I do know: we need to shift from fatigue to fitness. Like an athlete who practices in preparation for a marathon, we need to prepare for the uncertainty and disruption we face in an unknown future. We need to become Future Fit, Change Fit, and Complexity Fit. It starts with practicing COOL:
If you and your team need to reset, reconnect and replenish, get in touch to learn more about our COOL Team Re:Set workshops.