Istituto per la Creatività Applicata S.r.l.
P.za 4 Novembre 4
I - 20124 Milano
Tel +39 02 671.65.330
Fax +39 02 671.65.331
by Giovanni Franco, soon to be published in English on the book
FROM HERE TO LATER – THE ART OF STAYING WITH
WHILE PLANNING AHEAD DURING A GLOBAL CRISIS
edited by Talia Bar-Yoseph Levine, Co Executive Director at Jerusalem Gestalt Institute
February 2020. I’m just about to start with several projects that will be developed by the summer or yearend; they are important and complex engagements that I’m very happy about, co-created both with long-standing clients and new organisations. Some assignments are already confirmed, others are to be defined. In any case, 2020 looks very promising.
In the meantime, there is some curious news coming out of Wuhan that takes me back to other times in the past when we talked about SARS or bird flu. Just like then, these are distant things that do not concern me: I am sure they will not impact me. Therefore, I remain calm and look ahead with confidence.
It’s like lightning. Suddenly, people are dying, businesses are closing, borders are being closed. I don’t fear for my health yet, but I realise that something important is happening. Customers are suddenly thinking of postponing some activities. Some of us (I am a partner of an international network of about 20 facilitators) are asked if certain activities can be done online.
In some countries the first lockdowns are implemented and on March 9th-10th I have a workshop in Bratislava. There the emergency is still approaching, but at the moment, everything seems quite normal. Despite having to change flights, I manage to get there. I do the workshop and, look at that, from March 11th there’s a lockdown there too. It’s all surreal: we were going full steam ahead and “Bang!” – we have to stop. There’s a problem. It’s not only affecting our social life and our work, but it’s also endangering our lives. How is this even possible?! I’m not ready.
What now? What do we do? How do we fix this? We feel lost. At the start, we sought contact with internal colleagues more frequently, via video, Skype, Zoom. We who worked in bilateral relationships and small groups, and only had meetings with the whole team 3-4 times a year, immediately feel the need to get together, to hear from others; what do they think? How do they react?
In no time, we decide to meet online for two hours a week. In this way we can face this new challenge together and support each other in the tasks ahead. We present ideas, deal with technical issues, supervise each other, learn new things: like this we stay in contact. Yes, we are in contact! An authentic contact, even if it is virtual; an equal contact, even if we all are at different levels; a precious contact, even if our inner voice keeps whispering: ‘It was better before!’
In the meantime, we are constantly in touch with our context and our customers: Entrepreneurs who see no future and realise that somehow they have to re-invent themselves, leaders who should give directions to their teams but don’t know themselves where to start, managers who are trying to give answers to questions that have not yet been asked. Topics such as communication, trust and control, team spirit, new customer acquisition, project monitoring and many others, need new solutions, which cannot be copied from others, as we are all in the same boat.
We don’t stop, but as we launch or intensify several online activities (such as development processes, interactive workshops, individual and team coaching, company conventions and more) we observe ourselves and realise that, in dynamic parallel processes, what we are experiencing is also experienced by most of our interlocutors, especially at managerial level: SOLITUDE, UNCERTAINTY, DISORIENTATION.
This is when we come up with the idea of bringing an already known model online which with the right parameters, can provide significant added value over time, both to individuals and to existing teams. We call it Smart Leadership SuperVision©.
Basically, it is the possibility to supervise one’s own leadership in groups through regular online appointments, supported by a facilitator. As the person in charge of the process, he or she encourages contact characterised by transparency and openness and activates a holistic dimension which is adapted to the participants. In this way, the exchange of real-life experiences generates growth and learning. Output? Sustainable solutions and individually relevant results.
The monthly meetings last between 2 to 2.5 hours, with groups of 4 to 6 people, over a period of 7 to 8 months and are conducted on a platform with suitable tools and resources . The leitmotif is the “Leader Coach” theme, in order to consolidate a leadership style that is essential for the continuous growth of people. A style that younger people are strongly demanding from Generation X and the Baby Boomers who nowadays hold most of the leadership roles and who find it so difficult to break out of the mould: “Do it like this, because I say so.”
March 2021. Success – it’s happened! The process is very well appreciated both in the inter-company version (groups made up of participants from different companies, countries and functions) and in the corporate version (participants from the same company or team), allowing individual supervision to each of the participants and offering a unique opportunity for the development of team spirit and overall team leadership.
To me this is a further example of how we (supporting people, teams and organizations) have to “play on both sides of the field” by also observing what happens to ourselves and daring to turn our insights in concrete suggestions. The Smart Leadership SuperVision© participants overcome solitude through SHARING, overcome uncertainty through a much broader UNDERSTANDING of the context and overcome disorientation by having the COURAGE to proceed in small steps in this ever-changing situation they are called to manage for more than a year.
That’s what we do too!