Wisdom of COVID-19

COVID-19 and quarantining had thrown us into an unprecedented new reality. Seemingly overnight, we were thrust into a new reality. A rapid transition to working from home, keeping up with work while tending to the kids school work, hiding our smiles behind masks while practicing social distancing, exhaustion from seeing ourselves through the lens of a camera for hours on end, uncertain reactions to kids or pets popping up on a work zoom call.


Through it all, we figured it out, we showed resilience. In doing so, we each learned about ourselves and each other. Things that have wisened us to the possibility of a better next normal.


One of the definitions of #wisdom: The Body of knowledge and principles with a specific society or period. How do we take our individual experiences and transform them into our collective wisdom?


On May 3, 2020, Leila Rao and I led an Open Space session at the Virtual Open Space North American facilitated by April Jefferson and Mike Kaufman. It was an opportunity for people to share our individual experiences to inform the Wisdom of COVID-19.


In response to the question what of this wisdom do we want to inform our next normal? Our insightful participants shared these summarized responses.


1. More choice / intentionality

Quarantine led us to be more intentional about our choices.



What if in the next normal we are...

...more intentional about when we interact - in person or virtually?, in the office or from home?

...more intentional about what we work on - choosing purposeful and meaningful work?

...more intentional about our choices and boundaries - do I need to be here?  do I need to be in this meeting?

...more intentional about nor chasing meaningless things?



2. Get to know the whole person

Quarantine has helped us see our co-workers more humanely.  Physical distance has broken down barriers in new ways!


What if in the next normal we created...

...more opportunities to get to know the whole human in front of us - people’s kids, families, pets, work environment, virtual background choices?

...more opportunities to get to know people at a deeper level - their motivations and desires?


3. Integrate work and life

Quarantine has forced us to learn to integrate work and life.


What if in the next normal we...

...designed our day to participate in family activities, followed our natural biorhythms, spend more time with our family and kids?

...measured performance through outcomes and results?



4. More caring relationships

Quarantine has helped us practice crisis leadership


What if in the next normal we...

...showed we cared through regular check-ins, acknowledgements, celebrations?


5. More creativity and experimentation

Quarantine has forced us to experiment and be creative to solving problems.


What if in the next normal we...

...made more time for playing and thinking?

...don't settle for the default best practices but continue to learn through experimenting with new things?


6. More appreciation for what we have

Quarantine has allowed us to appreciate the simple things


What if in the next normal we...

...have more appreciation for our work and our workplaces?

...have more appreciation for our co-workers?

...have more appreciation for our teachers and frontline workers?

...have more appreciation for our natural resilience?




And as we move into the next normal, let us use our collective wisdom to inform a better tomorrow one that appreciates what are who are behind the numbers and statistics of this time.

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