COVID-19 came like a Hurricane. Many of us were caught unprepared, trapped by the fear of COVID-19 and its impact to our lives. I run a visual consulting company with my husband. We transcribe conversations into visuals by drawing live in M.I.C.E. and we conduct our Visual Facilitation LabTM in Asia. COVID-19 put everything on halt. Many events were cancelled as well as our training programmes. We were caught by a big wave of requests for rescheduling, replacements and refunds. Before we could face the storm, we were hit by a hurricane. Are you able to relate?
Let’s take a step back. How could we have faced this COVID-19 hurricane differently and learn to fly with it rather than ran from it?
Surviving COVID-19 is similar to learning to surf the VUCA wave of Volatile, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguous, with resilience. We fail at first, jump back, acknowledge the situation, learn from previous mistakes, and move forward.
Here is what we can learn from Mother nature, “The deeper the roots the stronger the tree” and storms make trees take deeper roots.
I have come to learn that if we brave each “storm”, we can transform FEAR into the “root” of STRENGTH and every storm we overcome will open another door to WISDOM.
Resilience will help us to remain ‘Positive’ with the unknown and consistent change. I see COVID-19 as a “FAST-FORWARD” access card to the Future. It pushed us to look at the things that we can do as individuals as well as teams, which could have otherwise taken us years. Building Resilience in us and our team, opened us to new thinking (wisdom) and different ways of getting things done (Strength).
Let’s KISS? VUCA
Here are 4 ways we have taken to navigate the COVID-VUCA world.
- KEEP CALM :* Volatile – How do we manage the Volatile and ever changing circumstances? The Pandemic outbreak has shown us signs to slow down, the world needs to slow down. During Singapore’s Circuit Breaker, everything slowed down. Staying calm provided space for me to look at the options, resources and solutions to manage the sudden cancellation of events (which meant the lost of jobs/ projects). Resilience grounds us, providing us with the firm base to keep learning, testing and building new online solutions for our business. Let’s keep calm, contemplate the stressful situation in a broader context and work to keep a long-term perspective. Start by developing some realistic goals and begin with small accomplishments. Build consistently to move toward those goals.
- Instil Trust :* Uncertainty – What do we do when we are faced with what we don’t know and what we have not dealt with before? The outbreak emanated the leader inside many of us. It’s time to step up as a confident leader and remain poised under uncertainty. Trust your ability to solve problems. Every one of us has conquered obstacles, accumulated experiences and knowledge. There is resilience inside every one of us. Work with your team, implement open collaborative conversation, build team’s skills, explore new platforms, encourage one another and build Trust. During the 1st month of Circuit Breaker, our team faced a lot of uncertainty. Resilience taught us not to doubt and instead, to trust our team and trust the process! We pick up new skills, learn new things and develop our work onto new platforms. We worked with new partners and developed new online programmes. Our webinar attracted people from all over the world despite the time differences. Our clients are no longer limited to Singapore & Asia.
- Simplify :* Complex – What do we do with the known known, known unknown, unknown unknown? Resilience drives us to remain positive and not to give up even when we fail. Every failure can translate to wisdom and a step closer to a new breakthrough. When things get tough and complicated, break it down and simplify the process. In a recent webinar, I learnt from Dr Lim Song Guan, former Group President of GIC that one way to manage complex situations is to first develop a strategic plan, build resilience to work with scenario planning using this simple framework of Sense —> Analyse —> Respond. The process helps to simplify things and deal with a complex world to enhance capacity. Scenario Planning helps to anticipate results, reduce shock, and lowers the likelihood of collapsing a project.
- Seek Clarity :* Ambiguous – How do we address inaccuracy, incompleteness and consistent change? We can use simple visual tools like the 5W&1H to address concerns, clarify ideas, break down the questions into simple chunk and work out solutions for individual pieces to overcome the challenges. We can give clear and consistent communication to help keep the team motivated for the long road of change initiatives and shifting priorities, especially to people who are resistant to or fearful of change.
Is COVID-19 the last hurricane? What are we going to do when the next storm comes? We can play victim and complain or we can acknowledged the situation, learnt the lessons from “KISS”ing the COVID-19 VUCA, grab this fast forward pass and fly with it!
“Every Storm we overcome will open another door to Wisdom and Strengthen our Roots”
Sunshine Irene Kang
Sunshine helps individuals and corporates to find confidence, gain clarity and build capacity. Her strength is in transforming lives, which was built on the experiences of a painful marriage that left her with massive challenges mentally, emotionally and financially. She is now a successful entrepreneur of a thriving visual consulting company, a lead facilitator and an inspiring speaker.