March Madness

It is March 1st and the academy is running along well. Through the work of the academy we now have a website, we are formally coaching two clients, and we are connecting with others. The latter includes several bona fide development groups; and individuals who reached out after the website went live in February. Additionally, I reconstructed my linkedin page, seen from the viewpoint of a retired leader who wants to stay connected to whomever is interested. But enough about me. How are you doing?

March is an odd month. It heralds a changing of the weather in Southern Alberta and though we often have a dump of snow during the month temperatures seem to move upwards. As I write today the temperature is supposed to go to 10 degrees Celsius above freezing point. This is also the month we start to think about the coming summer, and what we might plan for. On the negative side, March is a grim reminder that one year ago COVID started to be taken seriously. In the UK, Italy and Spain the virus was hitting hard and deaths accumulated. In North America this was the month when we experienced our first lockdowns, and the scope of the pandemic began to hit home. March 2021 will be a tough month for many of us, because it is a reminder that we are one year into this madness…

What should I say that would give hope and instill a sense of stability?  To be frank, few words describe what I see you experiencing. And so, it would be inane to try and make light of all that is happening around you and to you. I too feel the pain of separation from my friends, family and colleagues. I too feel that I have no control of events and experiences. Although that is how I feel, my alter ego wants to disagree with my perception that I have no control. You see, how we react to still being in lockdown, is very definitely influenced by our self control. All of us rightly feel as if we have no control of the events around us. However, we do have control over how we react to these events. I want to encourage you to see through this madness and control your reactions, because:

  1. We need you to be the leader you should be. The most sought after quality that others look for in leaders during crisis is “calmness in the storm”. This is true of leadership roles in organizations/families/churches and other groups. People want to follow and trust leaders – but they will be nervous if they don’t see you being prepared to think through the issues and provide some solutions that give hope. Our reaction to crisis events says a lot about who we are as leaders.

    Don’t get me wrong- people are not looking for optimists!. However, all of us want to believe that with the right plans in place there is a future to be had, whether we still have COVID or not. Its our job to work constructively to show others that we believe in planning, and will help them move through this so they have hope for the future. Pandemics don’t change the need to have hope, though they push us to think differently about the future.

  2. It is critical that we plan for a future. It may have seemed okay to tread water for 12 months while we waited for the vaccine, but life is proceeding. We are starting to see changes in the right direction. There is a vaccine, numbers are definitely down, and the health system seems to have worked out techniques that mitigate the affect of the virus. All of us need to be thinking beyond September 2021. Doing this will give you a competitive advantage.

  3. We need people who can apply thinking to how pandemics will influence our daily lives in the future. This is no longer a game. Pandemics are here to stay and it behooves us to find strategies that allow our economies/societies to adapt and change. We need people like you to help the world deal with this risk proactively so that we are not paralysed in the same way.

I want to end this newsletter with an epilogue. My life was dramatically impacted by COVID. It had been my intent to work part time after 2020; helping do locums in the regional cancer centres where needed. COVID stopped me from visiting regional centres and helping them get a vision for 2030. It stopped me from being able to complete the planning for these centres. It also cancelled several vacations with special people.

However, the pandemic gave me tremendous opportunities that would not have occurred had this not occurred. I built a wooden strip canoe with my son, a powerful experience. I worked closely with several people to move into retirement – an incredibly important step in life. I also found new hope in simple essential truths relating to friends/family/God. My reactions to the pandemic could have embittered me and disappointed me, but I choose to see this as an opportunity for me to build up my role in peoples’ lives.

May you find hope this month. Stay safe,

Peter Craighead

One thought on “March Madness

  1. Wow Peter, this is very impressive stuff and in my humble opinion, very essential, not only because of the embattled times that we live in, but also because leadership as a style of management is by far the most important element of management.
    In my experience both in business and militarily if you lead, people will follow, if you set out to be a controller first and foremost people will push back.

    God bless you, Good luck with this wonderful initiative,
    Sincere regards, Neil McCleland


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