Moving From Helpless to Helpful

There’s a certain feeling of helplessness we each feel as we look at the current global health crisis, things happening in our companies, in our communities, even with our families.

We are all facing things few of us, individually or organizationally, have ever faced. We each are struggling to find answers and to make sense of what’s happening. We are trying to figure out how to move forward.

This is actually a fascinating time, it’s tragic that it takes something like this to capture our attention, but there is so much we are/can be learning from this.

  1. We can’t figure this out by ourselves, we can’t develop the answers in isolation. The only way we can develop answers and approaches to deal with what we face is by working with each other. Whether it’s working with our people, with our customers, our suppliers, our families, or our communities.
  2. Working to achieve our shared goals or common purpose is the most effective way to achieve our own goals/purpose. If we focus on our selfish interests, we won’t be successful. But through collaboration and working together we each achieve more.
  3. We each have to do our part, fulfilling our commitments. Those that don’t weaken or even destroy our ability to achieve our goals.
  4. We have to be agile and adaptable. As with anything truly complex, there is no right answer, but there are the answers that work in some contexts and for a period of time. And as things change, we have to adapt to those changes.
  5. Empathy, compassion, listening, engaging, shared respect, and collaboration are the skills critical to learning, finding solutions, and moving forward.
  6. Data is critical–the right data and really understanding what it means and how we most effectively leverage it in assessing solutions is the way we make progress.
  7. Measuring and data to assess progress and whether what we have chosen to do is important. These feedback loops are critical to success and figuring things out.

Underlying these things is a mindset of being helpful. Ironically, the only way we address our individual and organizational feeling of being helpless is by being helpful.

What are you doing to be helpful today? To your people/colleagues, with your customers, with your suppliers, with your family, in your community?

Afterword: These are not new principles, they have always applied, even in “normal” times. Sadly, it’s taken a global health and economic crisis for us to rediscover these. We would lose so much of we don’t retain what we’ve learned as we move forward over the next 6 months, year, years.

Afterword: Thanks to Shari Levitin and Jill Konrath. I listened to a great webcast between them, they inspired this post.

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Author: Dave Brock

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