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Image created by Justine Evirs, LLC ©2020

Leading During a Global Pandemic

Let’s be honest.

COVID-19 changed everything. The economy, the way we communicate, the way we work, the way our children go to school, and absolutely even the way we lead.

Have you slowed down enough to really let that sink in?

If your answer is no, then that is your first problem.

Stop reading this blog.

Get off the computer or your phone and go read a book. Or better yet, go make a homemade meal for yourself, your best friend, or your family.

Pre COVID we were all burnt out.

Seriously, we can’t lie… the burnout was real only 2 months into 2020.

The rat race called life got to be too much and we were all begging for a break. Some of us were brave enough to create boundaries and create breaks for ourselves but if you are anything like me, those boundaries didn’t last long before you were sucked into another project or world-changing idea.

This global pandemic has given us an opportunity to slow down and really take stock of what is important.

Yet instead, I have found that most people are adjusting and adapting to the “new norm” and doing even more than they were before March 2020.

Let’s keep it real…

I am all about getting things done and chasing your dreams but if you were burnt out pre-COVID and you are still trying to maintain that speed today, I guarantee, you are not heading in the right direction. You might be closer to achieving that dream but at what cost?

How is your health?

How are your relationships?

How are you sleeping?

We all have had to make several big changes in 2020 but the four ways listed below are what I am seeing to be the most effective in the organizations, teams, and projects I lead.

  1. Deep Work vs. Instant Gratification

The quick and easy fix doesn’t work right now. I mean it really didn’t work before but it really doesn’t work today. People are stressed and exhausted. They don’t have time for your elevator pitch or instant fix. They need long term and sustainable solutions. The days of moving fast and throwing things together quickly are over. People don’t have time for a full day of meetings any longer so you have to make it count. You have to ensure that you are building and leading with double the purpose and value to get and keep people’s attention today.

2. Values & Culture

I know, I know… values and culture, blah, blah, blah but yet once again values and culture are eating your strategy for breakfast. It may not seem like it today but I guarantee over time the turtle will outrun the hare every single time. People are taking stock of what they want to be putting their limited time into and are taking second looks at what their purpose and passions are. If your values do not align with theirs and your culture is toxic I promise, they will be gone before you know it. I don’t care how much money you have raised or how great your idea is- if you don’t have people who respect you and want to truly want to come to work every day then nothing matters.

3. Improvise & Imperfection

Nothing ever goes according to plan and these days nothing, I repeat nothing is going according to plan so why am I seeing so many people trying to make things perfect? Now is the time to take risks, try new things, and switch things up a bit. Now is the time to reconnect with your teams and see if they have ideas that you never had the time to pursue or were never open to trying pre-COVID. Now is the time to celebrate creativity and thinking outside the box. Everything has changed so make your own rules and if you are in a situation where you can’t do that then see #2 and find a place that welcomes your suggestions

4. Patience

Ugh… my eyes roll as I type this because I am the least patient person you will ever meet but I tell you what. COVID is getting it through my thick skull thanks to my leadership roles at The Paradigm Switch, Protecting Courage Podcast, and the Courage to Create. Things are going wrong or not according to plan every single day. Why? Because I rely on humans and not machines and humans are going through a lot of stuff right now. Leadership has never been more challenging. Especially if you are leading teams with limited resources. It was tough before but these days I have to choose to find the gratitude, areas I can be more patient in, and ways I can be of service to those who need it most.

The moral of the story is that, I know we like to act like we have it all together but the truth is no one knows what they are doing and everyone is doing the best they can in their own unique way today. Cut people some slack. Your projects aren’t going anywhere and if they do then there is probably a better way to tackle it.

And for god sake, if you don’t have children and have people on your team who have children then be extra kind to them. Parenting is the hardest job in the world and right now these tiny humans need us more than ever. To be honest, they need us more than your company does and if you push them too far they won’t leave their children hanging. I promise they will leave you hanging.

“Justine Evirs is a Navy veteran, powerhouse innovator & visionary who is on a mission to inspire people how to use the power of innovation to defy the odds. She is the Founder & CEO of the Courage to Create & the Protecting Courage Podcast. She also serves as the President & Founder of The Paradigm Switch; a global non-profit that teaches military spouses how to build a life they can take anywhere in the world. Justine is currently residing in Kyiv, Ukraine with her active-duty husband of 16 years and their 3 children.”

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A powerhouse innovator and visionary who is on a mission to inspire people to use the power of innovation to defy the odds.

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