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Crisis Can Inspire Innovation

I I started to title this article "We May Not Need to Get Tested, but Every One of Us Will Be Tested."

If we are lucky, as individuals, we will be in the percentage of the population that doesn’t contract the coronavirus. We may never face getting tested for the virus to allay our fear that a runny nose or cough is anything more than a cold. But, each of us will be tested in the weeks, and perhaps months, ahead. We will be tested individually, and as group, on how well we adapt to change — how well we innovate.

Whether this virus dissipates quickly or lingers, it has already inspired us to imagine new ways of operating in our daily lives. Nearly every company — every community — is in some phase of planning or rolling out new ways of interacting to minimize the spread of the virus. Leaders are thinking about the changes they need to make to their technology infrastructures and policies to allow for a remote workforce. Employees are thinking about how they can change their schedules and routines to minimize physical contact with other people, without losing actual contact and effectiveness with important members of their vital communication chains.

At the risk of being stoned by the village, I say this is good! Don’t get me wrong. The existence of the virus is terrible and I don’t wish for anyone to get sick, or worse. But, rethinking how we do things from time to time — rethinking how we work and how we communicate — is good. It’s good for innovation.

We may try new things during this time of uncertainty that are temporary. We may simply return to our old routines once the virus threat has passed. But, some of us may find that the innovations we introduce now can help us be more productive moving forward, and beyond this current crisis.

Why am I writing this? Because I believe in innovation. I specifically believe in innovation in the areas of people performance and fulfillment. The way we currently do things like how we hire, how we evaluate our teams, how we communicate goals and progress and how we interact may not serve us as we grow and pursue success moving forward.

Change is good, and I’m betting good things will come out of the reactionary change that is happening all around us right now. As leaders, we should be thinking about ways to innovate continually and not just in a period of crisis so we can adapt to whatever comes next.