Working through the current disorder we find ourselves in

In times like these, we need to “unfreeze.” It is a necessary time where we need plenty of adaptive thinking on our needs to start thinking how we are going to emerge out of this “lockdown,” so many of us are in and apply our reasoning to literally “crank starting” the economy engine again.

Even if this is one month, two months, or longer, we need to become creative and innovative. We cannot be held in this “frozen state” for long without looking to become economically productive again. It may be in different ways, in new roles, or in transition until we have a higher “grip” of what we can achieve in a very volatile, challenging world.

If we remain in our present states, then what I suggest as a ‘frozen state’ remains, we default back to what we know, based more on repeating patterns, believing everything is orderly based on efficiency, effectiveness, and doing what is necessary to manage daily. Well it is not, we are in chaotic and unpredictable times.

This, regrettably, is simply not good enough in today’s world as it has changed so radically in these last few months.

We need to look differently at so much, but all of that comes in “good order.”

Do you recall Kurt Lewin’s model suggesting there are 3 steps to work through as a model: Unfreeze- Transition- Refreeze.

Firstly we need to unfreeze the existing situation the world finds itself in. We need to find a vaccine, we need to test for antibodies and “test, test, and test” to know where each of us stands in this coronavirus world we now live in. The difference is not just life and death that many are caught up with at this very moment.

We all are caught in this world crisis; we are in as much disruption and uncertainty as is possible, and “we” cant’ allow this uncertainty to manifest itself too long. We need to return to some level of certainty.

Let’s look at some thoughts on moving from uncertainty back to (a degree) of certainty.

We need to apply our thinking so we can begin to unfreeze, transition and refreeze

What does that mean? There are plenty of techniques to help in this, but I have taken innovation as the focal point as we all will need to become creative, adaptive, fluid, and flexible to changed situations. So to name a few:

We need to firstly unfreeze.

  1. Burning platforms-  we have the most significant crisis this world has faced, as we have so much more dependency than in the past. At present, there are far more of those “burning platforms,” Burning platforms are potent drivers of strategic change. They are what happens when there is a real and immediate crisis, we are faced with difficult and challenging choice. Your choices might be irreversible and have a high risk of failure.
  2. We have all been shaken out of our comfort zone.  What will help us unfreeze and capitalize on some rapidly emerging and “breaking” opportunities? Are we looking for these or staying immobilized in fear?
  3. Provide your own proof points that the present situations you are facing are threatening- that cold hard evidence
  4. Restructuring deliberately to force change into ‘our’ system in our thinking, in our habits, in our expectations
  5. Revise and adjust past goals and visions to rethink immediate objectives- how do I/ you move forward?
  6. Unlock and seek out opportunities to learn, to be trained in new thinking, different techniques and methods
  7. “Nothing comes towards those that wait” we need to expect rewards far more on measured outcomes based on your own creative and innovative activities.
  8. Recognize that many of what your previous contributions made do honestly make up the past, not so much the future of what is needed to be achieved, based on a very different understanding of growth and wealth creation.

Then we have to make a set of transition points.

These are the fuel to keep your innovation engine nourished and moving in the new innovation point of your direction.

  1. How can you inspire others to achieve some remarkable new things to change the existing situation?
  2. Can you act as the internal and external stimulus to others in coaching, inspiration talk’s, providing ideas, offering creative thinking, sharing with others to build different and valued new value, someone will buy or invest in.
  3. Set about your own organized training and education program, understanding that this moves in steps of learning, so take this in stages of absorbing the lessons and then find creative ways to apply them.
  4. Re-educate yourself by being more exposed, not staying in denial, to stimulate fresh alternative thinking, both with yourself and in areas of a business opportunity that you can ‘take, adapt and apply’ appropriately.
  5. Offer open spaces, ‘safe’ environments to learn and experiment, to reach out and exchange with others. We all need to openly discuss within our “trusted networks” but also rapidly extend that network fast that we need each other. Each of us will need to experiment, to trial, and sometimes fail but learn from these moments the positives and re-apply them in new ways and lessons discovered. Be highly adaptive and flexible here.
  6. Find your “innovation champions” to listen too and to learn from. Ones that can provide you the support environment to ‘go-to’ so you can relate and identify with. Just listening to others and their experiences can give you rapid insights.
  7. Push beyond incremental creative innovation by slowing turning up the heat so it gets more visible and noticed. Start not slowly but announcing yourself to the new world and what you offer has some real depth of thinking behind it.
  8. Learning to take first baby steps needs to be followed quickly as you need to keep improving the pace within your activities by applying the techniques of different experiments, prototyping, piloting methods, and approaches. Grow the confidence and talk of the learning from any failures along the way to improve. But keep reiterating like mad.

Lastly, we look to refreeze the ‘state’ into a new innovative one.

We actually do need to refreeze but in a more responsive, proactive, agile way – with clear innovation intent to achieve an end goal. In today’s world that is to secure reward, economic and regular work

  1. We need to burn any bridges to ensure there is no way back to the old ways, where old dreams were based on those past days and reset these in new future-orientated ways, that are realistic and others can identify with.
  2. Make sure you achieve the ‘show me the money moment’- your evidence stream of work activity and success.
  3. Keep the focus on being ‘relentless’ and focusing on the future and why being consistently creative and innovative is an essential part of this in increased activity and performance and your sustaining value.
  4. Keep returning to the ‘rationalization’ of this, re-evaluating and adjusting it to what you have learned, so each action is a validation of a path being traveled that gives you scale and scope to recovery, contribution, and offers your economic engagement.
  5. Make sure rewards are aligned to any new ‘innovation’ ways, sometimes trading different forms that put food on the table, protect your family, and gives you various levels of economic bargaining points.
  6. Build all the efforts over time, they will come by being determined, focused but highly adaptive.

Passing through these three learning stages

Unlocking any persons creative and innovating potential always needs to pass through different learning stages. Focus on  your ‘unlocking’ point in each of these three phases we all will pass through.

Do not let yourself by frozen in the past; we must all find ways to “unfreeze so we can pass through the transition phase and be well-prepared to “lock-on’ to new opportunities and then freeze these.

My final piece of advice is these are highly fluid times; we will continuously see shock and disruption, so keep a constant need to “unfreeze, transition, and then freeze until you need to do this again.

Eventually, we will get to a reasonable state of ‘freezing’ of feeling we are in a new norm.  Presently this is totally out of your hands in when the crisis is over, but your job is to rapidly pass through these phases to make your change and get you equipped early enough for a very different set of challenges in a new world, post Coronavirus.


****My next post relates to the Cynefin framework focusing on moving from disorder back into (some form) of order, we need to repurpose our lives beyond them being simply “on hold.”



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