Coming out of the Covid Cocoon: How to become a Leadership Legend
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new” -Socrates
You reduced expenses, paused projects and deferred everything possible. It’s as if there was a big red “stop” button and you hit it hard. You had to. It was the only way to survive. You know things can’t stay like this much longer, but you feel caught betwixt and between. On one hand, you feel a strong urge to just get things back to normal—to the way they were—but something in your gut is screaming to you, “hey… maybe there is a better way.”
During my time in the COVID cocoon, I was introduced to the concept of liminal space. Liminal is derived from the Latin word limen, meaning threshold—any point or place of entering or beginning. A liminal space is the time between the “what was” and the “what’s next”. It is a place of transition, a season of waiting, and not knowing. This is a very uncomfortable space for leaders of “just do it” cultures. But what if you were to listen to your gut? What if you use this liminal space to challenge assumptions and paradigms that may have served you well in the past, but may limit where you are able to go next?
The next 18-24 months is a time of reentry. A critical time for leaders and their teams. The opportunity is to come out on the other side with a more aligned, engaged and committed team that is ready and excited to take on this new world—and win. On the flipside, failure to navigate the uncertainty of this post-COVID work world with compassion, clarity, transparency and accountability will produce stress, resentment, anger and disconnection that will no-doubt have long-term consequences—unhappy employees and unhappy customers.
Wise leaders know it is important to pause before hitting the restart button. Take time to help people through this reentry process by leaning into the uncertainty of the times and daring to engage them in time for reflection that perhaps will yield some new perspectives and possibilities that will help you and them move forward. What have we learned? What do we want to keep? What do we change? How can we use what we have learned to set new expectations for our teams and create new value for our customers? This is a space where relationships and commitments can be strengthened and a time when innovation will propel your organization forward. This is a time where leadership legends are made. Are you ready?