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Changing How We Change

Keeping AHEAD of the Curve by Dismantling the Status Quo

Posted by Kai Thompson  |  December 17, 2020

To say that 2020 has been a tumultuous year would be a gross understatement. Over the past ten months we’ve collectively striven to “flatten the curve” and stabilize the economy by developing methods that slow the spread of COVID. We still have some distance to go before we can consider ourselves out of the woods and when we finally do emerge on the other side of this, we will be forever changed. Going back to business as usual won’t be a viable option. It’s critical that we shift our focus to reimagining how we live, work, learn, and engage with one another while building a sustainable future. If we hope to keep ahead of the curves to come, we must reassess that which we deem valuable, do the hard and messy work that true transformation calls for, and expand our concept of community.

1. Nothing Changes… if NOTHING Changes

Pre-COVID society churned along at breakneck speed with a head down, produce, consume, expand, and advance at all costs mindset. Suddenly, the world stood still… then panic took hold. Panic gave way to denial. Denial gave way to blame, which swiftly led to anger, and eventually acceptance. We continue to grapple with despair. From loss of loved ones, jobs, homes, and finances. The freedom of dining out or grabbing drinks with friends. Handshakes, hugs, and shoulders for one another to lean on.

“We may regard the present state of the universe as the effect of its past and the cause of its future.” ~ Pierre Laplace

While the adverse effects of the pandemic are plenty and the true totality of losses incurred are incalculable, what now lies before us is the opportunity to dismantle the status quo and construct in its place the best possible future for ourselves. If the global disruption caused by COVID has taught us anything, it would be that in order to effect lasting change we must begin by adjusting how we relate to it. If we don’t learn to truly appreciate the intangible things we collectively miss the most and largely took for granted, nothing changes. If we refuse to move beyond our infatuations with the past and accept the inevitability of change itself, nothing changes. If we fail to carefully examine the actions and decisions we choose to make, the motivations behind them and the results they cause, nothing changes. If we choose not to give equally weighted import to emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing as we do fiscal performance, nothing changes.

2. Minding the Mess in the Middle

Now that we have viable vaccines approved for use, hope is on the horizon. However, we still have hurdles to overcome before we can refer to the COVID crisis in past tense—one being the time it will take for vaccinations to be accessible to the general public and subsequent widespread distribution. Until then we must become masters of the short-term, carefully discerning what to do next while being mindful of future impacts.

“Chaos is the score upon which reality is written.” ~ Henry Miller

There comes a time in every journey where the traveler is equal distance from their starting point as they are from their destination. It is safe to say that as an industry we are in the middle of our journey to what comes next. An equal distance from our prior existence and our future one, and man is it messy. By minding the mess in the middle, we can be decisive about the now while building a sustainable future. We can learn and grow from this historic event by not only accepting the likelihood of similar mass disruptions in the future, but proactively building flexibility and disaster preparedness into the way we operate.

3. Community and the Common Good

Prior to the pandemic, the industry’s primary focus rested on the effectiveness of the individual. We tracked the movements and strategies of key sales leads, powerful real estate firms, and put our strongest efforts into landing that “one big fish.” The pandemic and our subsequent response decimated our desire to track individual markers so heavily. Organizations that have survived and even thrived during this time, are those that shifted their focus to the common good for all. All employees, clients, and even citizens.

For generations, community has been at the forefront of societal and technological advances. From the time of tribal hunter gatherers, to the modern-day collaboration and ingenuity of likeminded scientific organizations, the societies that advanced were those that were able to harness and sustain the power of community. We must then seek to collaborate with and learn from one another. We must strive to lead, work, and engage with compassion and empathy. We must consider how our individual actions impact and/or support the whole.

Keeping ahead of the curve in our “disrupted” world requires the combined intentionality and creativity of us all—applying positive energy to generate ideas, inspire change and chart an exciting path towards a sustainable future. If we build that philosophy into the way we do things today, when we’re faced with having to do things differently tomorrow, we’ll be adequately prepared for it.

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