In the Edge of Our Times

In Singapore, we are facing the 2nd wave of the impact of Covid-19. One more post or article about resilience or courage or even vulnerability is going to get me knotted in my stomach. Add that to the flurry of activity about the new technological wave around Zoom and virtual trainings, and I am set up for another flood of reactions. I realise, I am on edge. We are in the edge of our times. CRR Global has defined “EDGE” as both a noun and a verb.

edge

/ɛdʒ/

noun

  • The Edge is the line between the known and the unknown—it is at the limit of what we know about ourselves.

verb

  • Any time you try a new behaviour or idea or perspective, you are crossing an Edge.

We are at the intersection of what we know (or used to know) and the unknown - of what is unfolding. What I know is that living in our current times stirs up a whole spectrum of emotional, logistical, relational and intellectual range. Sometimes even rage. EMOTIONAL

When I speak to senior leaders and their teams, the daily emotional range shifts from relief and gratitude, to frustration and overwhelm. A yearning and desire to do more, and the need to self- care and pause. I realise this to be true for myself too. So the questions I ask myself to cross over this edge is:

  • How do I want to be in this very moment?

  • What am I acutely aware of? What is next for me? What is difficult about this? What is easy?

  • Who am I? As a business owner, a team member, a wife, a mom, a sister, a tribe?

  • Who do I want to be? What do I want to be better at? Who do I no longer want to be?

LOGISTICAL

The logistical plane goes more from “what needs to be done?”, “what do we know to be true, factual, and available” to “what do I have to account for?”, “contingency plans” and shifting work schedules. Now my curiosity in this area challenges the mindset around:

  • Is this really important? What are the things that no longer need attention? What can be dropped?

  • What is emerging in our work arrangements, our industry, our globe?

  • How can we be more inclusive?

  • What have we previously not even considered is necessary? How is it now a need?

RELATIONAL

For the relational aspect, I am constantly manoeuvring the skilfulness and unskillfulness around my relationships at home, life and at work. When I think of what I do know about my work relationships, is that we trust each other, and we deeply believe in possibilities and coming from good intentions. What is unnerving to me is that working from home is new, and text messages on Slack or WhatsApp or IMs get misinterpreted. Add that to the uncertainty and discomfort of our times, and we find ourselves (and myself) on edge. What is the heart-set that serves:

  • What are the many roles that we put on in one day, one hour, this minute? How can I be present?

  • How can we support each other in these challenging times?

  • How can we continue to challenge each other and grow in strength?

  • What is the shifting narrative in this team, organization, nation?

INTELLECTUAL

Intellectually, this seems easy, or commonsensical. Trying on a new idea or perspective or a new behaviour like working from home requires work agreements and platforms and communication channels that serve our team. On the individual level, our values, perspectives, choices and awareness, bring us closer to our desired being and outcomes. As a professional coach, I intellectually know this stuff. As a practitioner, I question this further. Putting skillsets and frameworks to the test, do they work in times of change:

  • Follower-ship is as important as leadership; or is it?

  • If the strategy is the direction and scope of an organization over the long term with the configuration of resources within a challenging environment [Johnson and Scholes] then, what is the vision if there is no strategy that seems to fit?

  • Do crises like Covid-19 come with a manual?

The ancient Greeks described wisdom as phronesis. In essence, it is the art of knowing the right thing to do, at the right time, in the right way. It is the ability to see ahead, anticipate how things might unfold, and the ability to foresee the consequences of a given course of action [Adair, John].

If the above is to be true, we now need to not only be better at practical wisdom, but at harnessing the collective wisdom of our teams. Leaning into the knowledge that rests with the front-liners, the non-tangibles and creatives increases our response-ability instead of reactivity. To bring to the forefront new information, suppressed emotions that reveal new data and ways of engaging and being responsive. In business terms we call it team resilience; organizational sustainability; emotional, social and Relationship Systems Intelligence (RSI™). My 10 year old kid will just say “We are doing what we can.” bringing comfort and peace as well as “What’s possible? Let’s do it!” to go over the edge. Being in the thick of our times, it really is about finding comfort in the discomfort. Of crossing edges, and boundaries and terrains. ‘In the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to.’ Dave Hollis – Over Grow The System For now, I will be living in the ebb and flow of the tides this wave(s) bring, and crossing my own edges with others to be growth partners to leaders and their teams who are navigating their tides and edges. Tell me how you are doing.

Elfarina Zaid is Co-Founder of Elf Coaching, a CRR Global Partner in APAC.

As a Human Growth Partner Offering a Systemic Approach to leading teams and organizations, she finds managing herself to be most challenging. She claims to kick butts as a growth partner to her client organizations, and most times, her own.


People Ripple, a brand of Elf Coaching, is offering CovAid Renewal Initiatives to leaders and teams.

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