Respond – Recover – Renew

How will the pandemic define you as a leader? Will it be a refinement or a complete overhaul? From what I read and hear from leaders across various industries, it seems there will be at least three distinct phases for leaders to navigate due to COVID 19. I believe the main phases will be respond, recover, renew. Many leaders, particularly those in healthcare, are still in the respond phase. I work with leaders in other industries that are starting to move toward the recovery phase. I have not interacted with any leaders fully in the renew phase.

I offer distinction of each phase below followed by powerful questions to contemplate as you pilot your way through each one. You will draw on different leadership strengths are you flow from one to the next. I would love to hear what you would add to each, and how you are navigating your current phase. This pandemic is reminding us of the value of open source learning, so please share your thoughts.


Healthcare leaders in acute settings have been operating command centers to respond swiftly to ever-changing needs, including staffing and supplies. Industries that are part of distribution chains have similar centralized centers. Such efforts are designed to remove hurdles in real time and create agile processes. The respond phase requires your cognitive agility, problem solving, stress management and empathy to be in full gear always. Existence in such environments can be sustained by adrenaline for quite some time. Here are some questions to consider as you navigate this tumultuous time.

· What are the basic needs of my team? How are they being met? How do I know for sure?

· How have I anticipated customer, staff, peer needs today/this week?

· How would I rate my communication today/this week for: transparency, clarity, inclusivity?

· What silver linings or joyful moments have I heard of that should be a) celebrated, b) shared with others, c) preserved in detail?

· What am I doing to keep myself well?

· What processes have we disrupted that should be revised?

· How am I recognizing contributions daily? Who else needs to be recognized outside my immediate team?


As the need for immediate response begins to wane, leaders move toward recovery mode. Well before your business can recover, your people/team must recover. Consider repositioning your command center as your recovery center. As your organization approaches the recovery space, you will need to rely on your resilience, self-awareness, self-compassion, and empowerment skills. True recovery for your organization will involve everyone. Ask yourself these questions to establish your mindset for this phase.

· Who should I involve in recovery planning?

· How can I/we weave silver linings from our response phase into this next phase?

· Who needs a Purposeful Touch Point (PTP)? What should the frequency of my PTPs be with my individual contributors?

· How am I leaning into the personal needs of my team – how have their needs changed?

· What am I learning and how will I capture impactful lessons? How will lessons learned be tracked and shared?

· How have I provided space and grace with ears wide open for my team? Has this served them well? How do I know?

· What have I done for my own rejuvenation today/this week?


Perhaps “normal” is not a place to which you desire to, or can, return. Life changing events often require paradigm shifts and new ways to frame situations, as well as thoughts. You may find the leadership strengths of authenticity, alignment, strategic planning, growth mindset, and coaching will serve you well in this phase. Build upon what you learn in the recovery phase. As the leader, you have much to draw upon now to give shape to your new, improved organization. Here are some considerations for laying a solid foundation for your renewed success.

· How will I ensure the silver linings we have been weaving into the fabric of our company have lasting value?

· How have I assessed my inclusion of the voice of others to enhance our renewal (strategic planning & alignment)?

· What have I learned from my PTPs with the team? How have I used this information?

· How has this pandemic changed how we celebrate: who, what, when, where?

· How has the pandemic changed our mission, vision, and values? How have we upheld them?

· How will I know we have aligned well with the mission of our organization?

· What and how often do I need to communicate transparently about our renewal? (strategic plan)

· How can I leverage my coaching skills to lead my team into our renewal?

You get to decide how well you respond, recover and renew from the pandemic. Your team and your organization are counting on you to forge forward. It is time to reveal your superpowers as a leader! Stay well.

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