We are living in exceptional times. The Covid-19 virus has unexpectedly paralyzed the whole world (even if WHO had warned about a global pandemia). The global economy is on hold and recovery from this is expected to take a generation. But foremost our health is threaten, which is something that we have not experienced world-wide in this scale and with this speed. We have been speaking about decades about that we are living VUCA world- a Volatitile, Unexpected, Complex and Ambiguous world. Now it is here in its true sense.
But are we really paralyzed by this? I believe we are not. I believe most of us are going through the U-shape change curve and are experiencing a kind of a initial shock phase and some resistance to everything going on (although not every one is feeling that in same magnitude) . An unwanted change has been imposed on us and most of us would like to go back to what we know and what we like. Luckily, as psychologists have pointed out, we are adaptable human beings and we will adapt to the changed circumstances, we have done that throughout human history. Some will adapt faster than others as in any change situation. We are already starting to see changes in adopting e-learning at school with great progress and great innovations taking place in businesses threatened by the new circumstances.
Now if ever, the notion of mental models, initially launched by Peter Senge, really matters. If we really want to move ahead on the change curve to the new normal, we must ensure we are carrying such mental models that will help us get through these challenging times. Everyone should ask themselves: Is the way I view the world, my thinking and my attitudes helping me and others to get through this dark and challenging time? Or is it slowing me/us down? Or even hindering me/us? Now it is the time for everyone to reflect and discover their thinking patterns and allow them to find the potential to renew and replace any mental models that are working against them and us in these exceptional circumstances. I have been doing this work with leaders for a decade and am continuing to support individual leaders, entrepreneurs and large organizational to help them to reinvent their individual and collective mental models about leadership. What does great leadership look like for them and their people in these turbulent times? And what will leadership look like in the new normal? What individual thinking and attitudes do we need? And what collective cultural elements do we need need to have in place to make through this transition?
Finally, I want to express an enormous gratitude to all medical workers around the world, who are working in a job with a calling and who unselfishly risk their own lives to save ours. We have a lot to learn from the mental models they are carrying to take us through dark times to a new normal.