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COVID-19 produced the proof:
Sense of Urgency is key for change

by Gabriele Wittendorfer

„Visible crisis can be enormously helpful catching people’s attention and pushing up urgency levels”.
Coming from Kotter’s words to the confession my school-mate Sylvie made when we talked last week: “Three months ago I was totally convinced that the zero-paper idea of a clerk-office was the phantasm of people who have no clue what I am doing in my job. Now, after more than 30 years in this job, I know: It is possible. I am able to do it. And the best: I’d like to stick to it.”

Because this is not only Sylvie’s experience but the lesson even teachers have learned, I like to repeat the eight stages, which Kotter named 1995, we should keep our eyes on when we like to keep the best of the crisis in our new normal:

  1. Establishing a Sense of Urgency
  2. Creating the Guiding Coalition
  3. Developing a Vision and Strategy
  4. Communicating the Change Vision
  5. Empowering Employees for Broad-Based Action
  6. Generating Short-Term Wins
  7. Consolidating Gains and Producing More Change
  8. Anchoring New Approaches in the Corporate Culture

No, it is not fun to bring the own business back after the Corona lock-down, in particular when
everybody expects a recession to come. Nevertheless it is a chance.
From the positive perspective I prefer to follow the Appreciative Inquiry key question:
Coming back to the experience I gained, whereof I want to have more in the future?
For those who are not able to find anything positive in the last weeks I recommend to throw a keen eye on the resources you still own: What is my core competency? How to retake the demand of the past and to create new channels beside the pre-Corona ones?

In my retrospection of the past weeks I really was hooked by the stories of automotive manufacturers who started to produce respirators, by the breweries which spent their alcohol and bottled it as disinfectant for care homes or by the students who organized shopping services for the elderly, just using their time, organisational talent and healthy feet.