My grandfather told me (with tears of laughter rolling down his cheeks) about the first time his brother saw a train and fled, thinking it was some sort of smoking, rolling beast coming for him. That was in the early 1900s. In 2021, it is hard to believe that we’d be shocked by much. We walk around with computers in our pockets. We can video call à la The Jetsons anytime, self-driving cars are here, drones are delivering packages, bots and AI are everywhere…
Oct 31, 2021 was our last day renting office space the traditional way. We’ve transitioned to 100% remote and are using all sorts of new tools to stay connected. Most of our people are embracing the change with optimism. We have virtual lunches and workrooms, where you can work in the same virtual room with a colleague. There seem to be unique, creative ways to interact announced every week – but for some, they are experiencing all this change like my great uncle did, with an instinct to flee.
I embrace change very quickly and am encouraging my colleagues to be patient with those who need a bit more time and a little less pressure to get on the change train. We also need to think about how people learn and help them understand what’s what using written, hands-on and video options. By recognizing and offering different ways to learn, people will – I believe – feel valued and supported.
It’s also important to ask people what’s working and not working for them, so that they feel heard. Even if we can’t meet everyone’s needs, taking the time to listen goes a long way in building and keeping trust. In 2022, I’m sure we will experience more innovation and change. To help our people get ready and not be shocked by what they see on the horizon, but instead find themselves excitedly waiting for the next change train, I am asking them to think about, to dream about, what’s possible. As we share thoughts and ideas, we will keep them for review in the future. Over a decade ago we did this exercise and one of the ideas we captured was…can I get a drum roll: the ability to work remotely. I can’t wait to open the next time capsule of ideas in another decade. Jet packs would be great.
– Becky Sharpe, President & CEO