When you are mountain climbing, you quickly learn one golden rule: Only change one of the four positions you hold when moving forward. This means that you only move one hand or one foot while holding yourself with two hands or standing safely on your two feet. The three positions you are keeping are your safety and support system. Even if you trip, you have two other positions to save yourself.
In life, change works the same way. Whenever we are going through change, we should hold on to as many positions as possible and only move one. When you are thinking about a career change, for example, change your position, function, industry, or network, but never more than one. That will allow you to thrive without taking too much risk.
COVID19 changed all that. The support systems and positions we had are crumbling. There are no regular talks at the watercooler supporting our feeling of belonging to our team. People haven’t seen their bosses for months, making it difficult to read between the lines of feedback. The boundaries between work and home have been abolished, making it difficult to relax at home. Work has invaded the home for everyone. It is hard to find a place to relax or have a good conversation with your partner. The trust in governments to keep us safe has vanished with increasing COVID19 related death tolls, panic reactions, and ununderstandable measures, or the lack of those.
The crisis we are all in is significantly bigger than we would like to admit. It is hard to find at least one safe spot to hold on to. We need to acknowledge the crumbling support systems – be it the work environment, the home sanctuary, or the trust in governments.
Leaders need to acknowledge the situation and focus on building up reliable support systems again – even if they are small or temporary. In business, a lot has been achieved with groupwork – not to be mixed up with teamwork. Groups are made up of people not working in the same departments and without having any direct or indirect organizational link. Teams, on the opposite, work together regularly.
In our experience, forming groups of four to six people from across a company meeting regularly every week or every second week can be a good step in providing a first support system in these volatile times. The groups’ focus isn’t work-related but on supporting each other mentally as well emotionally. They also are a step in making people feel closer to their respective companies again. They will become essential for company culture and loyalty in times of home office, remote teams, and crumbling support systems for the individual. These groups can become the safety rope for climbing Mount Corona.