The pandemic has caused no few issues but maybe one good thing to have come from the challenges which it has presented is that many leaders did stop and reflect.
For many, their greatest hurt and sadness throughout the pandemic was for the people which their businesses lost and just maybe it did emphasise to all, if it needed emphasising, the importance of internal cultures, values and teams. There is little doubt that pre-pandemic, cultures had become weakened for a whole number of reasons but there was a genuine disengagement, across so many businesses, between senior leaders, middle management and front end employees. The research was there for all to see but it didn’t seem to resonate when published and business strived harder to generate stronger results and as they did, so the disengagement grew greater. All natural as internal cultures has weakened and there was a lack of trust throughout the organisation.
There does appear to have been a reset and companies are striving hard to rebuild their lost revenues but also ensure that they are investing in their people and teams.
One CEO recently noted privately that: “ Yes we did lose our way. I will accept that. We lost our way as the gap between the rewards of senior players and those in middle management became too great. We forgot the golden rule that any successful unit needs to be like a family which will fight and care for each other. We didn’t. That is the harsh truth. The pandemic has given me the chance to reflect and to sort this out over two years. I am grateful as I was not overly proud of how we were operating. To me, it is all about creating a collective group which wants to work for each other and for the company. That is my task to achieve . I am now very aware of that.”
Last week, the new England Rugby Union coach, Kevin Sinfield uttered very similar words. Sinfield has won many accolades for running a series of extreme marathons in support of his friend who suffers from MND, saying he just wanted to be a good friend.
This led to many saying “Do you have a friend like Kevin? – so interesting as he commented: “You think of most good family units out there, you fight for each other and you care about each other – and that means some difficult conversations behind closed doors from time to time, but you don’t have those conversations because you don’t love or care about the person you’re talking to – you have those difficult conversations because you love and care about them.
“We’re all about performing. If we’d have come in these last two days and seen players who looked disinterested, didn’t have a spark in their eye and didn’t have an excitement about being here, we may have had to change our approach. But we haven’t. We’ve found a group that are really strong, ready to work hard for each other and are really excited,”
Would such comments have been heard three or four years ago? Maybe but less recognition. Things have changed and the concept of teams and values is once again on the rise.