by Michael Sansolo
Hard as it is to find reasons to celebrate the current moment, there are small victories and countless lessons we can find.
This came through to me recently when a friend commented that Covid world has granted her a great gift. That gift is ample time to allow her hair to grow out and therefore allowing her to stop the process of dying her hair regularly. Doing so puts an end to the damage dying brought her month after month. In other words, Covid freed her. (My hair, in contrast, has not benefitted at all!)
Yes, there are reasons to celebrate and enjoy the current crazy moment, if that seems possible. And for a second, let’s look beyond the sales gains many supermarkets are enjoying, as food at home is dominant once again. Sure it’s been a boon, as it’s almost as if the supermarket industry is getting a second chance to make a first impression with shoppers who long ago moved a majority of their meals to food prepared outside the home. It’s an opportunity that should not be overlooked at all, so yes, it’s good news in Covid time.
But there’s a less obvious benefit to Covid-world that might impact how companies choose leaders and value staffers for years to come. And it might well also be to our benefit.
Fast Company highlighted this unusual benefit of Covid time recently in an article that focused on extroverts and introverts.
As many of us probably have seen throughout our careers, extroverts tend to rise in organizations, thanks to their ability to inspire and interact with others of nearly all kinds. For that reason, most leaders (business and otherwise) have tended to be extroverts. Introverts, no matter how smart or talented, have been historically overlooked thanks to their innate reluctance to make the same types of connections.
Covid world changes all of that thanks to social distancing and the incredible dominance of distance working. Suddenly, a willingness to speak up loud and fast doesn’t shine through the same way. The result may be that companies will find tremendous talent and potential among those who get overlooked thanks to their relatively quiet personalities. In a very strange way, Covid isolation is helping us discover another facet of diversity, by helping us see colleagues, subordinates and superiors in an entirely new way.
I write this as someone who is entirely comfortable with public speaking a clear trait of an extrovert, so I recognize that what I am writing might not benefit those like me. But I think the opportunity to find new strengths in our staffers that could bring untold new benefits to our companies.
Let’s consider this opportunity as my friend has done with her newly natural hair, finding freedom and an entirely new look despite the challenges of covid. Let’s remember to use this strange time to find new strengths, skills and maybe even new leaders to take us into the future.
At the minimum, let’s celebrate the restored dominance of family mealtime and find ways to maximize the moment.
But no matter how you approach it, keep in mind what Monty Python told us years ago in both the film The Life of Brian and the Broadway show,“Spamalot" …
Michael Sansolo can be reached via email at email@example.com.
His book, “THE BIG PICTURE: Essential Business Lessons From The Movies,” co-authored with Kevin Coupe, is available here.
And, his book "Business Rules!" is available from Amazon here.