[ For the audio version of this blog post, click here]
Last week, I growled a few times and then spoke about my learnings from Day 1 of lockdown. It was rather uplifting in nature and inspirational in tone. Don’t get used to that. Today I’m writing to you with a far more aggressive stance. No lube. No pulled punches. No sanitiser on the trolley. Hold tight.
6 April 2020
Your initial shock of remote working, the lockdown and an immanent economic depression should have settled down by now, leaving you with the raw reality of your cash reserves, the hard conversations with your team and clients, and the harder conversation you haven’t had with yourself, yet.
You now face the 3 C’s of Covid, all resulting in change. Yes, the 3 C’s – I’m making this shit up as we go.*
The first C is CHOICE
You have the power to make choices now. Being proactive, even if the path is unknown, gives you huge agency and allows you to thrive as a leader. As with all choices in life, it’s advisable to have your facts checked and not just rely on gut. Unfortunately, in the time of pandemics, your choice is often as good as my guess. Choice is a state of mind. Let me butcher a Casey Neistat quote here: You can be a hater and doubter sipping champagne on the top deck of the Titanic or you can be the fucking iceberg! Choose choice.
The 2nd C is CIRCUMSTANCE
The current circumstances have left you with fewer choices than you may want right now. You are in the dangerous middle ground where you can either make a move, choose a direction and be that I-C-E-B-E-R-G or wait out the circumstances and let fate or whatever deity you believe in, make that choice for you. This is not advisable. However, you may find yourself in too deep where Circumstance has already come and gone left you in the firm grasp of our third C, Crisis.
Nothing makes you change faster than crisis. Crisis is not the 4-lettered C word you know, but it certainly feels like that. If you have passed the phase of “why am I here and how did this happen?” and have no real choice to make, you my friend, are in Crisis mode. You have to make a choice, but don’t have any real options on the choice. Sound familiar?
Now, you may swear that you become the best version of yourself under pressure and live in crisis-mode. Were you the kid that always wrote his assignment the day before it was due? Are you always fighting people crisis, client chaos, and cash flow stress? Great but this is different. This is South African Revenue Services coming after you personally; this is a CCMA case, this is not paying suppliers, avoiding calls and getting summoned. This is not Mrs White, your high school English teacher telling you to sit in detention because you never handed in your homework.
The good news is that crises always happen and they always end. It’s how you look at the end that matters now and picking ‘Choice’ may not leave you with cash in the bank, but it will leave you with credibility. It will leave you with loyal staff who see you as a strong leader. It will leave you being a trustworthy partner in whatever you land up doing next.
IQ was the shit in 1980.
EQ was the shit in 2010.
CQ is the shit in 2020.
CQ is your change quotient – Your ability to adapt to your new ever-changing environment.
The Titanic had no CQ.
Be the I-C-E-B-E-R-G!
*Special thanks to Mari Lee of Devcom who shared the initial change theory with me