Adjusting Our Sails

Week two of staying at home is proving similar, and different, to last week.

Writing this during the second week of ‘lockdown’, we have been listening to our clients, and ourselves, moving tentatively on from the initial shock of our drastically changed reality. Most of us are adapting to being at home and are noticing that this presents different challenges/opportunities for each of us. We are getting a little bit clearer about what can still be done with business as usually wholly out the window, with new systems and dynamics being established in relation to how teams are working together while apart.

Animate have spent many years exploring concepts like negative capability, adaptive challenges, wicked issues and Otto Scharmer’s U-curve with clients, colleagues and communities, yet none of us have lived it in such a visceral way as we are right now. We suspect that the whole concept of being resistant to change for people and organisations will need to be adjusted after 2020.

Who has been able to resist change in recent weeks?

We are hearing, in fact, that radical and previously almost unthinkable change is happening in some of our client organisations. Health and social care providers are experiencing this daily, but they are not the only ones. We are witnessing a global unfurling of humans’ capacity for innovation, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit. When we are truly up against it, few of the reasons ‘not to try’ something new survive the initial conversation about a way forward.

While none of Animate’s new offers would previously have been unthinkable, we are reflecting on how the radical change in circumstances has left us with no alternative but to innovate – to keep adjusting our sails, as this unpredictable wind continues to blow.

We have always delivered our services on a sliding scale, doing our best to make our coaching and organisational development support available to people and organisations who identify a need for it on an affordable basis.

We are already collaborating with ACOSVO (Association of Chief Officers of Scottish Voluntary Organisations) on a voluntary basis, to offer two free facilitated Zoom sessions for their members every week and are in the process of organising some similar offers through other intermediaries.

We are also offering an increasing amount of individual support for people in leadership roles. Most are people who are already in our network and have (or have had) this type of support from us, though some of it is happening quite differently. For example, one of our existing monthly coaching clients is instead having daily 15-minute check ins as her leadership role in residential care has become pressured in the new Covid-19 reality.

Until the end of May, and potentially into the summer, Animate is offering what we are calling ‘50/50’ – 50 minutes of individual/team coaching for £50. We hope this rate makes this type of ‘offline’ support affordable to those who might not otherwise consider it.

Coaching appointments can be one-off thinking sessions, frequent sessions in support of something specific, or more infrequent and on-going. Animate coaches are experienced working with staff and third sector Board members, who are also facing new and serious challenges in many organisations.

While we wish we could ‘gift’ our time to everyone who needs it, Animate is a business and we need to do our best to continue trading. We would like to offer paid support where it is possible, and free where it is necessary.

As ever, we welcome opportunities to discuss how we might work with you to maximise your impact, develop your culture and optimise your efforts; in these unusual times, or in the ‘new usual’ which they will bring into being.