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June 22, 2020
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July 12, 2020
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What’s Good About It? Finding the Positive in a Time of Adversity

I took this picture several days ago. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing global economic shutdown, air pollution has been reduced by 40-50% (here’s a more detailed article).

I have not seen a sky this blue or clouds this white in my lifetime, and once economic activity resumes I never will again.Most of us have, one way or another, been adversely affected by the pandemic and its economic fallout. A sky unlined by contrails is beautiful, but it also means that people are missing business trips and family vacations.

Winston Churchill famously said that it’s a shame to waste a crisis. But it takes a real effort to look adversity in the face and ask: “What’s good about it?”

One of the questions we recently added to our validated VCI-17 Culture Assessment Survey (detailed on pages 19-22 of the book Building a Culture of Ownership in Healthcare) asks people how they think the pandemic has affected the culture of their organization. 

Positive responses – including comments on how the crisis has sparked improved teamwork, a greater spirit of camaraderie, more creativity and innovation, and better communications – have outnumbered negative responses by more than 2-to-1 in almost every survey we have conducted since the crisis began.

The leadership challenge in these organizations will be to sustain these good things after COVID-19 has faded in the rearview mirror.

I’m looking forward to seeing contrails again, hopefully soon, because that will mean that business travelers (including me) are able to do their work again. Between now and then, though, I’m going to remind myself every day to look up at this amazing sky and let it take my breath away.

Here’s a challenge for you to think about this coming weekend: What good can come of this crisis in your life?

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