Thumbnail image

Learning on Bad Times. on Impact, Career Development... and Crisis [ENG]

Warning: This post is over 365 days old. The information may be out of date.

Something I discovered when I joined Microsoft (I had never thought that way on my previous employers) is measuring your results based on the “Impact” you create.

Measuring personal success and career development based on your impact is of course an interesting way to go, but impact itself is sort of a philosophical, metaphysical, term that turns out difficult to translate into actionable items and measurable results for those with a practical problem-solving mindset like myself. Therefore, career and personal development requires intentional thinking around this topic if you really want to succeed.

However, while this makes perfect sense on that context, there are situations where you might want to push the other way. There are multiple scenarios where the most urgent and critical motivation is to reduce the impact of something. Think of firefighting, armed forces or… yeah, pandemic viruses. It’s difficult to get out of the COVID-19 news lately so I want to propose the classic if you can’t beat the enemy, join them…

I’ve been following with concern this virus evolution (for personal reasons irrelevant here); learning how medical authorities and specialists worldwide are trying everything to contain the infection and, ultimately, its impact on people around the world (I mean: us).

There are a lot of lessons that can be learn from these practices, and probably you have some more, like:

  • Isolating people, effectively creating silos, reduces chances of transmission between such silos.
  • These silos allow micro-control toward individual cases, reducing spread.
  • Each country/silo focus their best resources to fight the local iteration as a remediation strategy.
  • While in contention/mitigation phases, gathering as much information as possible is key, so we can be prepared the next time.
  • Having a weighted view of the situation is becoming hard as regular non-expert citizens. Information is heavily dependent of the informer’s interests. Without an impartial truth, remediation actions are biased.

If you’re still reading (thanks!) the obvious question is, how in earth can this be related with personal impact or career development? Well, those measures are proving relatively efficient to slow and contain the impact of the virus worldwide, consequently reducing its impact.

While following the news, trying to get some piece of real information from the massive but oftentimes frivolous media coverage, I found I could save some of these ideas to give it some thought when this terrible crisis is over. If these actions are proving effective to reduce impact, those are good thinks to consider if you want the opposite, does it make any sense? Like:

  • Destroy silos: knowledge silos, of course; but also destroy personal silos: work inclusively to have everybody into the team, be prepared to work anywhere, anyhow, so nobody gets out of the equation under any circumstance.

  • Micro-control may be isolating knowledge, passion and ideas into small groups. Allow these to spread between teams and organizations. That’s the only way to encourage growth mindset and boost shared innovation.

  • Focusing only on local resources works for day-to-day actions. But counting with cross-team (cross-silo if you like) collaboration will increase chances for shareable impact (knowledge, contacts, business opportunities, …) beyond the limits of local resource’s constraints.

  • Even on unbreakable silos, share information widely so everybody is prepared the next time a challenge arises. Make the group better than the sum of its individuals.

  • Perseveringly try to get the truth out of every situation. Find and fight unconscious biases (I know what you’re thinking, but they’re called ‘unconscious’ for a reason) and develop a skeptical, emphatic sense to understand each situation.

And finally, an evident lesson is also that improvising on crisis scenarios is a bad idea. Proven unperfect best practices are preferred over the genius but risky choice. Be prepared for the worst, but if you want to increase impact and innovation, growth mindset and taking controlled risks is a must. No strategy works on every context so those risks will prepare us for the next challenge.

Hopefully this situation will soon be a think of the past. Meanwhile please keep yourself and your loved ones safe and don’t stop learning no matter how tough it gets.

Published first on LinkedIn, let me a comment there to see your thoughts!

Posts in this series

Related Posts