The Post Lockdown Impact
What to do when everything feels difficult.
Are you asking yourself:
- How do I keep my business going in light of what’s going on in the world?
- What’s the right path to help employees and management deal with growing background noise about their health, financial and political concerns at home?
- Do I have a short and long term strategic plan through the pandemic in place?
Have you ever been up late at night and asked yourself …
“Where do I go from here?”.
If the above sounds familiar, you may be searching for answers. But where does a businessperson, entrepreneur or C-suite leaders go during these unprecedented times of crisis?
Perhaps the answer isn’t a coach or consultant, it’s guidance from great thinkers.
Follow the lead of these giants who made big business decisions learning from the experiences and teachings of many of the great philosophers.
- Steve Jobs built Apple with it.
- Elon Musk grew Tesla with it.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger swears by it.
- Reed Hastings leads by it.
- George Soros and Peter Thiel studied it.
During this unprecedented time, systems, processes, frameworks, matrices, measurements and models have been stripped of their usefulness, or rendered obsolete. The playbook has been thrown out the window.
What’s never obsolete?
The mind. The human being. The ability to think.
Philosophy fosters a human-driven capability to approach situations, problems, and needs in fresh new ways.
Would Plato Be a Good Business Consultant Today?
In these troubled times, it is more important than ever for leaders to live by their ideals, their word, and their purpose. And they have to provide the critical thinking and perspectives that employees need to cope with everyday aspects of their lives. Business leaders are faced with big questions about how to lead their people, adapt themselves, and grow their organizations.
Let’s face it – many employees are coming to work tired, scared and angry. People need the support of leadership in ways they never did and leadership needs to be there and provide the perspective and tools needed today.
So how do leaders provide perspective and tools? That’s where Practical Philosophy comes in – because it provides both perspective AND tools.
Practical Philosophy is a type of philosophy that applies principles of philosophy for everyday life. You practice philosophy every day, you treat philosophy as a way of life. And one huge aspect of life is the working world.
You may be saying – “I don’t have time to THINK I need to get things done NOW!”
What Practical Philosophy will do is to help you get things done now by making sure you’re thinking about those things in the right way, the right order to do them, the reason why you’re doing them, and the right way to execute. And as an added bonus, a lot of philosophical ideas are inspiring and motivating and meant to help you be more content in the process.
The fact is, many of the great business leaders sought the advice of philosophers over the years to provide critical focus in difficult times.
Steve Jobs applied the principles of Buddhism in how he designed advertising and Apple products.
Elon Musk and Reed Hastings employ Aristotle’s “first principles” ideas to grow their business.
Arnold Schwarzenegger lives by famous Stoic Marcus Aurelius’s adage – “What stands in the way becomes the way.”
George Soros and Peter Thiel have degrees in Philosophy.
If you’re not convinced here are a few more:
Lucio Tan Jr., CEO of Tanduay Distillers Inc., has said that his father taught him Confucian values, such as doing to others as if you’re the other person. Tan has said the Chinese philosopher’s teachings “give you a deeper perspective of humanity, respect for others and for nature,” and have served as a guide for his approach to leadership and life.
Unlocking the Philosopher in You and Your Employees
You wouldn’t think data and philosophy go together right? Imagine you’re a data analyst and your work is centered around gleaning insight from disparate sources of data. You love to do it and yet in the current world, the picture has become more layered and nuanced – it’s beyond just the sum of the numbers.
Your clients are trying to draw as much information and new perspectives based on the current economic and social changes due to the pandemic. The clients are frantically searching for anything that will enable them to do business, and you are frantically trying to serve them.
You begin to ask yourself, What am I doing? What is this all for?
Enter Euclid, Plato, Socrates, and Voltaire.
Imagine for a moment, a bunch of data analysts listening to passages and ideas from ancient Greece or the Enlightenment period that tie directly to a core fundamental principle of why they do what they do?
To read and contemplate the words and lessons that reinvigorate their reason to be.
To learn new ways to look at their work and make connections between different ideas.
And in addition, to learn practical ways to apply this knowledge right away to the work and challenges they have in front of them.
This is what happened when Cristina DiGiacomo delivered a “Lunch and Learn” to a team of 45 data analysts at a global technology company, during the pandemic, by combining the ideas from the greatest thinkers, and taught how to apply these ideas to their everyday lives.
In the case of these data analysts …
- They reconnected to the customers they serve and their own role within the organization.
- They realized they played an important part in the work of the business which renewed their commitment to their job and company.
- They were inspired to look deeper into the challenges they face and look at them as opportunities for growth.
- They saw data in a whole new way which gave them new avenues to explore and ideate off of.
“What a refreshing new perspective! It was a welcomed change for my day.” Said one of the participants.
Imagine yourself or one of your employees expressing such inspiration and re-engagement!
“We wanted to do something for employee engagement and inspire our team. We brought Cristina in to do a “lunch and learn”. She dug into what would excite our employees and came up with a presentation that was unique, engaging, fun, and appealed to our audience. We had over 40 people attend and stay on until the very end and the feedback from our employees was totally positive. Also, she was great to deal with, professional and collaborative, and respected our input.” – Christine Tournabene, Director Business Analysis, 2U
This is one way you can drive the human-centered deeper thinking so needed in today’s world. Unlocking the philosopher in you and your team and how you can apply classic philosophy in daily tasks when you are managing people is the solution when all other approaches are failing.
Steve Jobs held Socrates in such regard that he wished he could meet him. Every problem, regardless of personal or business has many views that must be addressed. Whether Sarte or Socretes it does not matter, philosophers approach change and struggle from a valid perspective. It is time we re-embraced the importance that perspective has.
Philosophy was meant to help people face the problems of the world, that includes the working world, and more importantly a working world in a time of crisis.
So consider bringing a little philosophy into your leadership, team discussions, or ideation sessions. Because your company doesn’t need an obsolete framework, it needs a strong mind.
Cristina DiGiacomo introduces big ideas and provocative questions. Applying practical exercises and developing skills from philosophy to refocus your lens. Employee engagement in a remote workforce is a challenge for all leaders in this climate of adaptation and critical thinking. Stepping back from the minutiae of the day-to-day and seeing the larger picture, the purpose behind the work, is your key to success.
In the post pandemic economy - how does a philosophical approach to operational tactics improve performance?