Business Agility

COVID-19 Update: View from our Leaders

by Melissa Boggs

Editor's note: This article is one of a series designed to be At Your Service as we all learn to connect with one another even while we're remote. Because together we are not alone.

Like many people, I sit down to write - not knowing if I have anything to say that hasn’t already been said. 
 
Like many people right now, I’m feeling all the feelings and probably just need somewhere to put them all down and out of my head.  
 
Like many CEOs, I worry that sharing these feelings will either 1) make my team feel like I don’t have everything figured out [Psst! I don’t.] or 2) make people think that I am unaware of my privilege [I’m not.] 
 
Maybe it will do both of those things, or maybe it will reassure people that we are all human, and quite literally, are all in this together. It’s kind of an amazing thing, really. COVID-19 is one of the first times in humanity’s history that the entire globe is experiencing one single event. Granted, we are all experiencing it very differently. Some have loved ones in the hospital with coronavirus fighting for their lives, some are doctors trying to save them and making impossible choices, some have lost jobs and don’t know how they will pay the bills, and others are trying to figure out how to work remotely for the first time. 
 
We are all experiencing different levels of VUCA - volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity. It’s a term that is getting a lot of love right now, and we have never experienced VUCA at this level before. 
 
I feel very fortunate that my personal VUCA is pretty high on Mazlow’s hierarchy, but the feelings are real nonetheless. Obviously worried about my family’s health, worried about my parents, worried about my friends. I’m worried about our mental health. I’m worried about how we will probably need to go to the grocery store by this weekend, but I don’t know what we will find there. I worry that my kids will drive each other (and us) crazy. 
 
Similarly, our organizational VUCA is pretty high on Mazlow’s hierarchy right now as well. We are financially healthy, enough that we are confident in the security of everyone’s jobs. We’ve worked very hard for the past year to create a place of safety, innovation, creativity. We’ve made a lot of sacrifices and all made ourselves vulnerable in the name of cultural connection. I was a little worried that we risked losing that, with all of us working remotely. But I was wrong. I learned that we need that safety, innovation, creativity more than ever now. Every priority is being reassessed, and everything we thought we knew about how to serve our communities is up for discussion. This is living the Scrum values at its finest. 
 
So, alongside every worry is a flicker of optimism. We are only on quarantine day 6, and I have seen our staff and community rise to this occasion. I’ve seen trainers and coaches come together to open source material and share what’s working and not for virtual courses. I’ve seen more Zoom calls in the last 3 days than ever in history. I’ve seen podcasts spring up. I’ve seen offers of help, and willingness to accept help. We’re talking about social connection more than ever in this time of social distancing. It gives me so much hope that we will be better for this. We are learning things, sharing things, and pivoting as quickly as is necessary.  (Case in point, for the first time ever, you can take a live online training taught by one of our ever-agile Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers!) There are people all over the globe that I can honestly say I am closer to now, as a result of managing this together. And for that I am ever grateful. 
 
Courage. Respect. Commitment. Focus. Openness. Washing Hands.
 

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