TZL 1393 (web)



People have adapted to new ways of working and living, and in the process discovered new ways of thinking. COVID and the gift of organizational change

T he words “COVID” and “gift” don’t automatically appear in the same sentence. In fact, they don’t coincide at all. The unexpected arrival in March 2020 of a virulent germ that leapt from host to host transformed everyone’s lives, sending workers in nonessential functions home to a life of remote work, Zoom boxes, and juggling multi-generational family care. We didn’t anticipate or plan for these changes, but rather were forced to alter our behavior to cope with the magnitude and severity of the pandemic.

Julie Benezet

More than a year later, people have adapted to new ways of working and living. They also have discovered new ways of thinking. Therein lies the unexpected “gift” of the pandemic. ORGANIZATIONAL EVOLUTION. The CEO of an engineering and manufacturing company encountered such new thinking among his senior executives. They had weathered COVID relatively well with few cases of the virus among their workers and kept the production lines running safely across many geographies. That was worth celebrating. However, their success came with an unanticipated consequence. A year after the pandemic arrived, almost all his

general managers said the “R” word out loud. Before COVID, they considered themselves lifers, arriving at work each day with little thought about retirement. Then came the pandemic. While they remained committed to the company business, they realized during their constricted COVID lives that there was more to living than work. It led to thoughts of an exit plan, a major change for them and the company. Their situation is not unique. COVID has caused many people to take a serious look at their lives and careers. For companies, it raises organizational issues and opportunities.

See JULIE BENEZET, page 10


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