During this time of the coronavirus and high stress amongst many, it is easy to find oneself blaming others for what might not be working. For example, I’ve read complaints that we knew we were vulnerable to a pandemic and failed to plan adequately for it as we focused more on political or economic agendas which were real NOW. There were some who feared that spending too much time preparing for something that might never happen would be a waste of time to the detriment of immediate issues. Which perspective is correct? Both!
One of the tensions often present as we lead complex organizations and deal with unpredictable change is that of honoring and being present to the needs and gifts of now, AND planning for future demands. Healthcare has had to meet volume-driven payment models while planning for value-based care. We have to serve our existing inpatient and ambulatory patient visits while planning for the future of telemedicine. More imminent right now is meeting the existing demands of COVID-19 patients while planning for predictive surges in viral spread and increasing demands for personal protective equipment and ventilators, as well as planning for sustainable adaptation when the new normal becomes evident.
What happens when we take a problem-solving approach to these interdependent challenges, without considering the interdependent tensions? We find ourselves arguing loudly for our perspective believing there is one right answer and we have it, which creates more stress for us and others and can cause a see-saw-like approach which results in inconsistent performance and wasted resources.
I met with a client recently who is a physician and clinical leader dealing with both in-hospital and public health issues. What she found most helpful in our dialogue were the reminders to practice self-care now, so that she could take care of others in the future. She also appreciated the idea for harvesting seeds of positive ways of interacting during this crisis now that can help her, her teams, and her system to function more effectively in the future. Without the intention to pause and document those positive interactions, she and her system remain at risk of reverting back to ineffective habits.
Below is a polarity map which outlines this tension of being present and anticipating the future, in service to an agile and prepared organization.
At SixSEED Partners, we want to develop leaders who have the capacity to see these interdependent tensions to better lead in this time of uncertainty. Missing are action steps and warning signs that would be added based on what is relevant for you and your teams. One action step for staying present for the leader previously mentioned would be taking the last 15 minutes of a meeting and harvesting what worked during that meeting and what barriers existed that would allow them to create new ways of interacting in the immediate future.
If you’d like your own editable polarity map to give yourself the systemic view of the tension you are navigating, or if you have questions about how you might use this information now, complete our contact form and we’ll respond within 1 business day.