A message from Chris Powell, CEO of Talmetrix
Listen for the signal in the noise
A few weeks ago, I canceled my cable TV subscription. Too much noise, not enough signal. That’s the thing about information—there’s more of it than ever, but loud, continuous, well-packaged noise is still noise. And the noise wasn’t making me smarter or more informed, and it definitely wasn’t leading to genuine insight. So, for the first time in a while, I came home to a quiet space.
Then COVID hit and everything changed. Apart from the occasional trip to the office (there’s no one there, we’re all working from home) and walks around the city for fresh air, I’m spending more time than ever in my quiet home. Like many of you, my sense is our return to “X,” whatever X ends up being, may come later rather than sooner, and that gave me pause. I knew I’d fill this quiet up with something (I meditate daily, but I’m no Zen monk), so I wanted to be mindful and not squander the silence.
The signal is coming from deep, meaningful conversations
What happened next was organic, unplanned in the best way. I started talking to people. Not talking the way we did just a few weeks ago, not those quick info-dump conversations jammed between meetings or power lunches where each side of the table has an agenda; these were quarantine conversations, unfolding over phone or Zoom, the kind of talk that’s like peeling an onion, talk that goes well below the surface.
I talked to Ginny Clarke @ Google about how we’re responding to this COVID crisis.
I still don’t have perfect answers for the great questions she asked: “What are we fighting for? What do we want to return to?”. This now moment is a perfect time to refine or set new intentions of what we want to experience going forward.
I talked to Paul Stoltz, Ph.D. @ PEAK Learning about movies.
Of course, the Matrix came up—how could it not? What does it mean to red pill this moment of adversity? Made me think that the blue pill in this case is just reacting to the headlines of the day. This crisis is fluid, we’re witnessing real-time data collection at a global scale, so whatever fact we cling to in the evening could very well be revised by morning. Red pill is responding to this adversity with intention, knowing that our choices are creating the new post-COVID reality we’re all moving toward. Blue pill is reacting whack-a-mole style. So what is our highest, most noble and elevating intention that is regenerative for ourselves, families, communities, and workplaces?
I talked to Randall Tucker @ Mastercard about the multiple generations that comprise the American workforce right now.
It blew my mind to think how many younger people never went through the dot com bust or the Great Recession. This is a helluva Intro to Crisis Management 101 for them. What happens—what happens to us, and how we collectively and as individuals decide to respond—will shape Millennials and Gen Z as profoundly as Vietnam shaped the Boomers. How do we enable them to thrive through this unprecedented adversity?
I talked to Martha Miser, Ph.D. @ Aduro Consulting about wellbeing and learning, or more specifically, how none of us are really prepared for handling a public health crisis of this magnitude.
Forget for a moment the practical stuff and logistics of it all and think about the emotional aspects of living through COVID and then returning to a new normal of work sometime in the near or distant future. What kind of PTSD are we going to deal with in the workplace? Made me think: what can we do now to shore up the wellbeing of our organizations? (Related: I was on a call with Fortune 500 HR leaders concerned about the mental and emotional health of workers required to go into the office, to “take one for the team” and be on the frontlines.)
In short, I kind of organically filled up the quiet with meaningful conversations with friends and colleagues and clients who pushed me to think deeper about our present moment. I call the people I talked to Elevating Partners. EPs help you take it up a level, challenge you to pan out so you can see the bigger picture, and begin to see opportunity where before all you saw was the news tickers and tweets of the day.
Talmetrix helps you elevate
I want Talmetrix to be an Elevating Partner for you during this volatile time. I want to help you get a handle on the now by understanding how your people are adjusting (or not adjusting) to remote work. I want to help you through the transition, as we restart our organizations to understand the continuum of feelings your people are experiencing, from grief to optimism. And I want to be there for you ongoing, after we settle into our “return to X,” to help you understand the key drivers of performance, employee engagement, and retention in a post-COVID world.
This moment we’re all in together is a unique time in our lives, full of fear, but full of opportunity, too. September 11, 2001 was different. As tragic as it was, it required less personal decision making, less action, less direct accountability. This time, it’s different. We’re all being called upon to respond, to take the red pill, to help shape the new reality by the choices we and our organizations make.
I don’t know the way forward, no one does. But we’re going to find out by elevating above the noise, asking the right questions, and really listening to the answers, surprising and challenging though they may be.
Be well, be safe, and be intentional!