The shift in the matrix

by Lisa Steingold. With every changing of the tide, there are opportunities for growth, development and connection. So how do we pivot to ensure we are meeting the needs of the present and the future?

by Lisa Steingold. Scrolling through the news yields a barrage of headlines ranging from dire to catastrophic and whilst by no means should the reality of the impact of the coronavirus be underplayed, there are some fundamental, positive and necessary shifts that have come into being as a result.

Business leader Michael Jordaan, in a recent article in the Daily Maverick stated:

  • “Education will never be the same as an entire generation of teachers and learners have now experienced how easy tools like Google Classroom and Snapplify’s digital Textbooks allow one to operate remotely.
  • Office workers will waste less time in traffic as meetings are conducted over Zoom or Microsoft Teams. A whole cohort of managers will have learnt to manage the output of professional workers rather than whether they are in their cubicle on time.
  • Online enterprises (shopping, banking, stockbroking), and data providers have all received a welcome boost during the lockdown and many of their newly acquired customers will never revert to older, slower, expensive and manual ways.”

Something stands out for me and not just because I’m obsessed with Formula 1, is the 14 companies in the UK – including Airbus, BAE systems, Ford, McLaren, GKN, Siemens, and Rolls Royce – that have formed a consortium to produce mechanical ventilators to address the rising shortages. Nothing related to their business models; and a year ago this would have been right off the strategic radar screens for all of these companies. What it took was different thinking: flexibility, adaptability, and a need to contribute.

What defines thriving organisations and individuals?

The greatest delusion of leadership is thinking that current trend lines will continue and will define the future. As humans, we have a tendency to look at scenarios along a similar trajectory of the past. If anything, COVID-19 must show us that things can change at any time and deeper than that, we can and must be able to pivot as needed. Decades ago this may have been viewed as a weakness in strategy with a lack of focus. Today it’s what may mean the difference in thriving for organisations and individuals alike.

A few weeks prior to lockdown, I attended a talk by Assaf Luxembourg, hosted at WeWork, on the new world of work. He spoke about each person beginning to see themselves as business units. With a recent announcement by Werksmans that it may be unable to guarantee salaries for advocates, I wonder whether a shift in the workforce may come about sooner than expected? In a global economy which is rife with uncertainty, does it not make sense for work to be contracted in as needed?

So how do we pivot to ensure we are meeting the needs of the present and the future?

Firstly, and I strongly advocate this, take a break even just for a moment from the doomsday news and take a step back for reflection asking questions such as:

  • What’s become important to me in my work?
  • How has my meaning in my work/organisation shifted if at all?
  • How do I feel I need to adapt as a result?
  • How can I contribute?

With every changing of the tide, so to speak, there are opportunities for growth, development and connection. It may seem frivolous or even reckless to ask such questions now, but the truth is, if not now then when? Isn’t it appropriate that we reassess when the world is on pause? Don’t just take my word for it either. I see that the likes of Investec, yes an investment bank, is singing from a similar sheet at present: “I don’t have a feel for how long the pandemic will last or how deep or long the recession will be, but I’m confident we’ll learn how to do things even better, in ways that’ll benefit us in years to come,” says Patrick Lawlor, Editor Investec.

There’s a shift in everything at the moment, but the most dramatic shifts of all will come from within us, shaping how we express ourselves, our work and our organisations.


Lisa Steingold is head of marketing for Metaco; a globally connected consultancy and recognised leader in Systemic Leadership Team solutions in Africa. She has a passion for tech, disruptive thinking and behaviour change.


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