What Lessons are Top Leaders Learning in the Pandemic?
What’s the biggest lesson the current pandemic has taught you and your workplace culture?
That’s the question BCWI recently asked leaders of ministry organizations, churches, and Christian-led businesses across the U.S. Their candid responses reveal wise and innovative solutions at work even as employee engagement and employee productivity are still at risk.
The Need for Human Interaction
“My most meaningful learning has to do with ‘piercing the digital veil.’ As a church, we’re delivering all we can electronically. Yet, people want human interaction and seem to shrink without it. If we keep them at arm’s length and make it difficult to get to speak to a person, then, given our electronic delivery, we will lose our multi-site congregations. We have to make it easy for our members to pierce the digital veil and worship in person in a manner that scales with our organization.
“We’re also learning from our staff how they want to return to work. We’re wondering what percentage of staff will return, including full-time office and remote employees, as well as part-time staff.
“If 20 percent of our staff continued to work remotely, it would free up some real estate, namely 120 seats in our buildings. That’s a sizable amount of space. What should we do with it? Sell and relocate? Keep it for future expansion? We could use it to socially distance the remaining staff’s seating arrangements. Lots of options, lots of questions.”
Vision, Understanding, Clarity, and Agility
Mike Sharrow, is Chief Executive Officer of C12, the largest network of Christian CEOs, business owners, and executives in the U.S. The biggest involves five touchpoints:
- “We’ve learned that you invest in culture, communication, and core values when things are easy so that you have the agility and resiliency necessary to navigate crisis and strategic inflection points.
- Clear purpose, missional alignment, and quality relationships collectively become a competitive advantage in times of distress and disruption.
- Shared experiences, peer counsel and compounded learning cycles in times of heightened VUCA type conditions is critical.
- Vision, Understanding, Clarity, and Agility (VUCA Prime) are the antidotes to Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity (VUCA). This 4-minute video features a C12 leader-participant unpacking VUCA by sharing his experience of Jet Blue Airlines. Notes Sharrow, “It’s easy to see how strong cultures and BCWI ideals factor into VUCA Prime pillars.”
- A healthy team with good processes and necessary technology can rise to the challenge and do more remotely and virtually than imagined!
Be Clear on Mission
Craig Springer, Executive Director of Alpha USA, is the author of How To Follow Jesus: A Practical Guide to Growing Your Faith.
“One of the great lessons in building a healthy culture, which results in high impact over time, is to get clear on mission and hold the method loosely.
“Alpha USA was abruptly thrust into the COVID-19 crisis without a tried and true strategy to achieve our goals. Alpha is designed as an in-person conversation series to explore the meaning of life and the Christian faith. It includes a meal, large and small group discussions, and a weekend retreat. Our in-person method was impossible to fulfill.
“Thankfully, Alpha’s mission remained clear: ‘To equip and serve the church in its mission to help people discover and develop a relationship with Jesus.’ Quickly, we reflected on our clear mission and determined the church needed a new platform to help people discover and develop a relationship with Jesus.
“We had wrestled with the concept of releasing Alpha as an online experience for churches to host and never thought it could work. We avoided this method for years. When shelter-in-place came along, we realized the only way to fulfill our mission was to change our method – and it worked.
“Lesson: Because we were clear on our mission, our team was empowered to pivot quickly without a lot of top-down direction to make the monumental, necessary shift
“Result: During the pandemic, thousands of churches have now started running Alpha online. In the midst of chaos, people seeking hope and help have found community—and have found Christ!
Troy Meachum is Chief Cheerleader (President) of ACR Supply Company, North Carolina’s leading wholesale distributor for heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration.
“Whenever a storm approaches, we as leaders need to channel our inner buffalo. When a cow sees a storm coming, they turn and run the other way—and unfortunately, get caught up in the storm. However, when bulls see the dark clouds coming they group together and run directly into the storm. Thus, they come out of the storm and reach the other side, faster.
“At ACR, we came together and ran directly into the COVID-19 storm. This required us to make a lot of quick and difficult decisions, but we made them. This means we will not stay in the storm as long had we waited to act. Even now, we are starting to come out on the other side!
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