The 3 Rs of the New Workplace: Responsive, Resilient, Ready

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By Jay Forte

For many organizations, how they do business and how work is done has completely changed. Though many organizations feel compelled to return to the way things were before COVID-19, this isn’t possible. Many of the things that previously filled our days have been replaced with things we either never thought possible or thought we would get to someday, like workplaces with fully remote employees, touchless contact, effective video sales calls, home delivery of nearly every product, and even remote doctor visits. 

Wise organizations are using the COVID-19-inspired global reset to assess what worked and didn’t work in their previous environments to determine not only what to build on in their next version of normal, but how to be successful in a constantly changing global environment. To do that, an organization must be responsive, resilient, and ready.

Responsive (regularly gathering and using information to make intentional and wise decisions)

Reactive organizations zig and zag as they make knee-jerk decisions based on old habits and limited information. Responsive organizations regularly gather information and data from many areas then take the time to understand the factors affecting their business and the world to make informed, intentional, and strategic decisions on how to move forward. They commit to being more aware, more tuned in, and more focused on information to ensure their teams spend time in meaningful areas, do the most with the fewest resources, and have the best relationships with their customers and stakeholders. Gathering, reviewing, and accessing information is a mindfulness approach that allows the organization to be more flexible, to start and stop as needed, move in new directions, and create a variety of options to constantly assess the most effective direction. Responsive organizations make it part of their culture to always gather information, assess and understand it, and use it as a requirement to make wise, in-the-moment decisions. 

Resilient (developing stamina to bounce back from change, challenge, and failure)

As Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” 

In a world that constantly changes, where yesterday’s best ideas are no longer important today, successful organizations need to be comprised of teams who don’t take successes or failures personally. These employees know that in a constantly changing global environment, they will have to handle changing safety protocols, new regulations, international challenges, economic downturns, and business interruptions; and these are daily events. When employees can separate themselves from the events of their days, they maintain the energy to see the events as information. This helps them to not judge or get distracted by challenges or failures, and instead wisely, calmly, and intentionally learn from the event; they readjust, rethink, and respond. Organizations of employees who are not resilient are constantly at the effect of changes, manifesting in ways like burnout, preventing the organization from overcoming any challenge, large or small. Resilient organizations, however, have learned how to endure through the challenge, obstacle, or failure. 

Ready (developing the capacity to act quickly and intentionally)

“Expect the unexpected and be ready to deal with it.” This wisdom was shared with me early in my career by my CEO at the time, and these words are especially wise in this moment. The best way for any organization to be ready is to have the best information, have your teams trained, be clear of where you want to head, translate information into action, and move quickly. Build – and sustain – strong relationships within the team to be able to rely on each other to effectively discuss a change, consider new options, and implement a plan. Organizations that are ready are aware, informed, focused, energized, and committed to moving forward. 

We have to play by life’s rules. Change and uncertainty are how life is. We can fight with it (but they will overtake us and win) or we can be wise enough to determine how to be successful in this moment. For organizations, it is the triple R: to be responsive, resilient, and ready. Expand and use what you know to act quickly and intentionally. 

Jay Forte is President and Founder of The Forte Factor and Certified Executive Coach. Dedicated to sharing practical approaches to hiring, engaging, managing, developing and leveraging talent, he helps organizations build high-performing teams through his coaching, educating and consulting. He is the author of Fire Up Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition, and The Greatness Zone – Know Yourself, Find Your Fit, Transform the World. You can learn more at www.thefortefactor.com

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