Back to the Watercooler

At the end of dinner last night with friends, I realized this was the first time COVID-19 didn’t come up even once during the whole evening. I guess we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Even if it’s not immediate, we are already sensing the change. At a certain point during this pandemic – it might have been lockdown number three – all our conversations were iterations of the number of infections, new government-imposed regulations, and the vaccine rollout.

It is natural for us to discuss the here and now, be immersed in the day-to-day issues and how they affect us. But leaders need to know when it’s time to move on because they set the tone. The role of a leader is to communicate his or her vision and strategy. As leaders, you have to be on the cutting edge, focusing on, preparing for, and communicating your vision of the future.

Too often we hold on to and relay the stories from our past that serve no relevant value to our current situations. Imagine you’re in a relationship and your boyfriend or girlfriend continually talk about their ex or a team member keeps talking about the “good old days” when your company was smaller or before the merger or when things were easier. What you really want is for him to move on. We all need to move on and use our sharpened awareness and fresh approach to identify new opportunities in this changing world. We don’t need more conversations about how great it was to work from home, we need to start talking about meeting at the watercooler again.

Now is the time to think of that new narrative. Whether it be during a meeting, presentation, or coffee break – communicate to your managers, employees, partners, and customers your vision, your plan for the next stage. Don’t fall back on old patterns or the usual conversations. Be intentional and lead the way with a new dialogue, a new narrative.

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