As we enter this New Year in the midst of the largest COVID-19 surge since this virus was first detected, it’s essential that leaders take the time to reflect on our current environment, to acknowledge the significant impact that COVID-19 continues to have on the well-being of our staff, our selves, and on our communities, and to focus our energy on supporting one another.
I was thinking about this on a walk the other morning as I looked up and saw a flock of birds flying in V-formation, and I was reminded of a leadership lesson I heard many years ago that references geese flying in a V. They do so to help reduce air drag, where the birds at the front essentially reduce the air resistance so that the birds at the back of the flock have an easier time flying. Maintaining this formation is critical as it allows birds to move forward and backward in the formation as needed given current energy levels and the ability to continue moving forward.
I noticed one of the birds in the flock I was watching had fallen out of formation and was really struggling to catch up. Fortunately, it did catch up and rejoined the flock so it could benefit from the reduced air resistance the rest of the flock was providing (whew!). However, it made me think about our staff who are struggling to keep up and to stay in formation as we continue to strive to deliver on our mission to provide exceptional learning and development experiences for the transformation of individuals, organizations, and communities.
It is essential that we operate with a heightened awareness of the substantial and ongoing impact this pandemic is having on our team so that we can not only continue to change places in our V-formation as needed but so that we can also slow our pace when necessary to give those who are struggling to catch up and rejoin the V time to do so. This year, we are leaning even further into our core value of well-being more than ever before as we recognize that if we don’t take care of ourselves and one another, we will not be able to continue delivering innovative and transformative experiences to our partners. We hope that you are able to do the same within your teams and organizations so that we can all get through these challenging times by working together to stay in formation and to continue moving forward collectively.
Written by Jennifer Tucker-Tatlow, MSW, Chief Executive Officer,
Academy for Professional Excellence
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