A Letter From Our CEO: Lessons I’ve Learned Leading My Team Through Lockdown

Posted by on April 24, 2020

Dear stakeholders and friends of Marketwave:

It seems that re-entry and recovery is on everyone’s minds this week. What’s the plan? What’s the timing? What are the details? How can we do it safely? All of this is still taking shape. But in all of the hypotheticals and game plans, I’d like to suggest we consider something that should underpin any re-entry plan we develop: How will we be different because of this experience?

I read an article recently that called what we’ve experienced the Great Pause. Never have we had a time when all events were cancelled, all travel was halted and where the brakes were put on the often-frenetic pace of our lives. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the term “going back” because, while we all want to go back to our teams and thriving businesses, I don’t think we should go back to exactly the way we used to do things.

How will we emerge stronger because of what this moment has taught us? Before we instinctively hop back on the hamster wheel of “busyness,” I challenge all of us to consider the big picture and be thoughtful about making it happen in our organizations.

Here are some things Marketwave has learned in this pandemic moment that are revealing opportunities for us to defy the status quo when we look at our re-entry plan. Maybe these are areas that will also define your next normal.

Power of a brain break – Being at the home offices and having so many beautiful weather days in Texas has meant more long walks and bike rides for some on my team. And, for others, online workout classes or meditation apps have helped break up the work day. Regardless of what that break looks like, we’ve seen it translate into increased creativity, better focus and lower stress levels. In the old work world, few of us took the brain breaks we needed. We’ll be intentional about this idea in our next normal.

Technology as a force for good – I trust I’m not the only one who gets frustrated with technology or impatient with bandwidth challenges or dropped calls. Although our business runs on multiple technology platforms and tools, I probably viewed it more as a necessary evil than a force for good in the past. It’s great when it works, but it’s maddening when it doesn’t. Now that we’ve all realized we live or die by the technology in these remote work environments, we’re seeing all of the ways that technology is a positive and we’ve discovered new tools that improve interaction and collaboration. I’m certain the use of technology will be different in our future.

Real life is real – This new work-from-home world has produced some workplace comedy for sure. Whether it is dogs barking in the background, or kids popping onto videoconference screens, or even spouses competing for their share of bandwidth in a shared space, as we all navigate the new office life, there’s no doubt we’re getting to know each other a little better. But this is a level of relationship and empathy that we need to take forward. When people feel understood, safe and appreciated, they quite simply want to work harder for that manager or that company. This culture tenet is a hallmark of conscious capitalism and something we’ve seen play out on a daily basis from our team. Getting real with our team can, and should, continue. It can be a productivity superpower if we lean into it.

As we close another week of sheltering in place, the temptation for all of us will be to march forward into the re-entry steps and to race to get things back to normal. The real challenge is to pause and make sure we know what we want this next normal to be.

Sincerely,

Tina Young

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