We all have a blind spot, and it’s shaped exactly like us.
—Junot Diaz

What’s so difficult for President Trump and his inner circle as sponsors and administrators for change to make sense out of the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Do they not get that one of their challenges as change leaders, champions, or practitioners is how to make sense out of this incredibly complicated and perplexing dynamics of this pandemic?

Moreover, once they begin understanding what’s going on, do they not get that they then must help “their clients,” the American citizenry, genuinely grasp what is unfolding.

Furthermore, guide the people side of change management through the best course of action.

Familiar Traps

Getting into character, as President Trump does, in front of the media and public, isn’t helping in responsiveness to anxieties and fears, containment or mitigation of this pandemic.

Neither is using simplistic explanations or rationalizations as President Trump has and is doing. How’s that been, how’s that working out? Undoubtedly, not so good has it?

This bias, as a business, as usual, has been one hell of a trap. It genuinely hasn’t nor been describing the authentic complexity nor preparing us for the human side of the change—the range of significant change initiatives that must be swiftly enacted. The building, implementing, sustainment, and maturing of containment and mitigation of COVID-19.

Instead, President Trump and his inner circle became lost in the bias for convoluted command-and-control, waterfall, intricacies of the onset, pandemic transition underway, and offering help that is more baffling than authentically enlightening.

Waterfall models being adapted from operational processes of more traditional, highly structured physical environments. Changes later in the process are very expensive—Working Harder, Not Smarter. Development processes in which progress is moving steadily downward through the phases from planning, analysis, design, build, and test.

The COVID-19 pandemic demands fluidity. It is requiring leaders to embrace change and, yes, take risks. You can’t keep thinking you can engineer “risks” out of our ecosystems or the environments we cohabitate and pay rent to throughout the globe as a business, as usual.

We must manage better the human side of change where people just aren’t going to inconvenience themselves unless we’re forced to.

Wake up to the mindset of thinking that because we’re “a developed nation,” we’re typically going to deal with this pandemic instability or climate instability better than developing ones. Including cognitive dissonance, allowing us to conclude that while disasters happen elsewhere, they don’t happen here. How’s that been, how’s that working out? Undoubtedly, not so good has it?

I’m fond of Paul Slovic’s viewpoint, who is a University of Oregon psychologist and the president of Decision Research, an international group of investigators who study decision-making and risk.

We reason that we can curtail things we want to do, he says, but rationalize it’s not going to make any difference because other people aren’t going to do so. Furthermore, the question is often, as Paul says, “Do I feel vulnerable?”

“For the most part we don’t and that shapes our behavior.”

Many of you are likely not to remember, as I do, the 70s Mother Nature “Chiffon” Margarine Commercial —“It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.” Or the crying Native American PSA commercial – Keep America Beautiful.

Why is it so difficult for us to connect our non-productive present-life circumstances with the source causes? Develop or provide methods to change those that can and should be changed?

We can discover the hope that healthy change is possible, and we can gather determination to seek help to make those changes.

Human Side of Change Management

If President Trump and his inner circle are not ready to lead an authentic change, the human side of change, then they’re not prepared to navigate us through fluidity to get to the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Organizations don’t make people; people make organizations.
  • Organizations don’t change; people change.
  • Change or Be Changed. Disruptor or Be Disrupted.

Brent Gleeson, says, “a great vision for change is only as good as how and when it’s communicated.”

A vision without buy-in, Thomas Gray, says, falls flat. It fails to inspire, motivate, and align us toward a new and crucial common purpose.

So what then is this vision with buy-in? What can inspire, motivate, and align us toward a new and crucial purpose to navigate us through fluidity to get to the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Channeling Agile to Drive Human-Centric Change

The Manifesto for Agile Management, truth-tellers and mind shifters, and rebooting mindshare are undoubtedly one of the lenses to identify and interpret the “patterns” that influence and should be influencing how people function and are functioning, and the events unfolding in this pandemic.

So, too, is channeling Agile to drive Human-Centric Change to assess and observe President Trump’s and his inner circle’s mindset that is being applied to containment and mitigation initiatives. Including their behaviors driven by their mindset.

This mindset says a lot about why President Trump and his inner circle has or is hampering, scrubbing, or preventing the wealth of experience the scientific community could bring or are waiting to bring, to the containment and mitigation initiatives. Guide the people side of agile change management and the best course of action.

Agile management allows patterns to come into focus, opening up a range of interpretations and actions that would not otherwise be possible for containment and mitigation of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It seems apparent that State and Corporate Leadership, including their stakeholders, change agents, change brokers, and change champions are heeding the call for Agile Management.

But there’s still a long way to go in a relatively short period to ready ourselves for Agile management for mitigation (since containment has left the building) the likes I’ve never seen before or had thrust upon me in my lifetime.

Manifesto for Agile Management

Are we uncovering better ways of structuring and managing organizations to increase their lifespan in a continuously evolving, complex human-friendly business environment?

Where ecosystems of leadership and labor force are managing agile organizations to collaborate or co-partner to contain and mitigate COVID-19, including looming epidemics or pandemics?

Are we accomplishing these goals by practicing the vision, mission, and principles of Agile management and helping others do it?

Through this work, have we, or are we ensuring there is growing authentic hope, including roadmaps to value and prefer:

  • Decentralization and distribution of decision making and execution instead of central authority and distributing orders.
  • Feedback loops from all levels of the business environment feeding directly to relevant teams instead of steering committees and boards attempting to understand and translate market needs and trends with limited intellectual capital.
  • Sharp purpose for every group and function derived from clear organizational goals instead of fuzzy goals and managerial instructions.
  • Hybrid teams resourced with all the required expertise needed to establish and maintain a clear and unified purpose instead of silos (departments) driven by their own organizationally disjointed purposes.
  • Self-organized teams operating under full autonomy instead of rigid central designed groups with assigned participants.
  • Focus on emergent properties and increasing business variety to deal with complexity, risks, and failures instead of concentrating on individual responsibility and blame tactics.
photo credit: www.alamy.com

You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.
—John Kabat-Zin

Originally published at www.insightswb.com on March 15, 2020