Regaining Your Sense of Purpose in a POST-COVID World
There has been an increased sense of recognition within the corporate leadership that the days of ‘Business as Usual’ are over in the Digital Age that is being shaped by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is already manifesting in corporate decision making in several ways. For example, there is now an amplified focus on optimizing ‘core’ headcount, reformation of organizational structures and hierarchies, gravitation towards reducing office space, scrambling to increase online presence, formulating hybrid working mechanisms, revising and reinforcement of risk management plans, and greater sensitivity to health and wellbeing issues to name a few.
How Post-COVID Business Changes Affect People
This has a significant ‘human’ cost as professionals are often left in a quandary with respect to their own ‘worthiness’ in such a precarious work environment. This human cost is being exacerbated by the combination of several escalating factors including uncertainty of a ‘planned’ career path and progression, narrowing windows of opportunity for growth and development as organizations struggle to stay afloat, rising demand for cross functional/multidimensional skill sets that go beyond the current norms of acceptable needs for job qualifications, rapid deployment of advanced technology in the workplace to counter challenges associated with maintaining a human workforce, and multigenerational tussles and jostling for equity in the talent pool.
Questions to Ask Yourself to Reinforce Your Sense of Purpose
Many professionals start questioning their own abilities in terms of being able to ‘stay in the game’ as the tower of chips stacked against them rises appreciably. This beckons the need for profound self-reflection and the necessity for sustaining clarity of purpose that serves as a robust beacon of hope during those times when your sense of worthiness is challenged. Here are some of the key questions that can facilitate the self-reflection process:
- Are you being treated kindly at your workplace?
- Is an influencer, power broker, or decision-maker genuinely listening to your concerns and addressing them effectively in a timely manner?
- Are your career prospects residing in uncertainty due to an influx of existential challenges, e.g., AI-enabled entities, job automation, pandemic-driven corporate policies, economic downturn, etc.?
- Are you empowered to take initiative in your organization?
- Are your achievements lauded by your peers and managers?
- Are your mistakes treated as ‘learning lessons’ for growth and development?
- Do you have a capable mentor for seeking personal and professional guidance and facilitation?
- Are you willing to accept help in overcoming or managing physical and/or mental health challenges?
- Do you crave for a ‘moment of peace and solitude’ to rethink priorities in your life?
- Have you made a profoundly positive difference in someone’s life on a personal and/or professional basis through your work?
- Do you seek a higher purpose and meaning in life than meeting the desires and expectations of those near and dear to you?
- Have you prevailed in difficult circumstances in the past that have enhanced your ability to overcome current predicaments and foreseen/unforeseen challenges in the future?
Keeping Track of Your Reflections Helps to Keep You Focused on Your Purpose
One of the simpler ways to achieving congruency between a meaningful existence as a person and as a professional can be done by keeping a record of the ‘Daily Ascertainment and Reflection of Significant Challenges and Achievements (DARSCA)’ by utilizing the following template:
This template also serves as a valuable input for the growth and development of a professional in terms of soliciting the Key Success Factors (KSFs) in the case of achievements and Lessons Learnt (LT) in case of failures. It can be further utilized as a useful aide in terms of carrying on a meaningful and productive conversation during a team meeting with peers and/or with the supervisor during a performance review session as a basis for initiating and implementing astute measures for assuring employees and ensuring effective talent management of a workforce that is reeling from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A broader analysis of the DARSCA exercise can be done with the help of the following template that aggregates the significant challenges and corresponding achievements on a monthly basis:
The MALSCA template provides an expansive overview for a progressive professional to timely adjust his/her own priorities with respect to career growth and progression within the corporate hierarchy. It is an especially useful reference for sustaining a prudent work-life balance. This is critical since, quite often, talented professionals tend to marginalize health and wellbeing concerns, hobbies and interests, family and friends, old contacts and acquaintances, and other parts of their personal lives as they focus on career aspirations by embracing stressful conditions while trying to impress influential sources of power with their professional abilities. However, such transient bonds cannot substitute the time-tested relationships that are needed in precarious situations, like during the COVID-19 pandemic, to provide a strong and reliable support system for recalibrating priorities in accordance with the ‘true’ passions.
The Corporate Perspective of a Post-COVID World
From a corporate perspective, the era of ‘Employee Loyalty’ has been over for quite a while now. It had given way to the concept of ‘Employment Partnership’ that was built on the ashes of organizational allegiance. In today’s business environment, this concept is also under threat. The new arrangement that is being ‘conventionalized’ within the corporate landscape is ‘Employee Gratification.’ This concept focuses on employee retention where attractive ‘Total Rewards’ packages peppered with delightful ‘Employee Experiences’ are customized to serve as proverbial golden handcuffs for desired talent if the organization sees a healthy return-on-investment (ROI) or return-on-effort (ROE) in terms of retaining them as part of their workforce. Consequently, organizations that can provide the strongest jovial anchors for their employees are gifted with the strategic strength and a competitive advantage of having a healthy pool of intrinsically motivated and engagement-driven talent gelling together to achieve resounding corporate success in the hyper-competitive economies of the future. Such an accommodation can be hugely beneficial for capable professionals such as Chartered Manager (C.Mgr.) and Certified in Management (C.I.M.) designation holders who are more informed, incisively skilled and come prepared with a wealth of knowledge that enables leveraged negotiating that is targeted to achieve maximum goodwill with an employer who is frantically seeking amicable solutions for surviving the ‘turbulence’ of the COVID-19 pandemic. The key is to let go of the opportunistic proclivities in the present and embrace the mantra of ‘we are all in this together’ for a profitable payback in the future from an ingratiated employer.
Regain Your Sense of Purpose and Thrive in a Post-COVID World
Regaining the sense of purpose can be a daunting task for professionals who have been sensitized by the precariousness of the prevailing economic environment manifesting from the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, regaining a sense of purpose doesn’t have to be an ‘impossible’ task. These are the times when true courage and stalwart resilience is required. The determination to stay committed during nagging struggles on professional and personal levels, the steady focus during sleepless nights of self-reflection and the uncompromising valor in neutralizing the fear of failure are the three hidden attributes of a successful professional in a corporate landscape that is being significantly reformulated due to the lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic. The question for every progressive professional is: Will you define the moment, or will you let the moment define you? Your future awaits the answer…
About the Author:
Murad Salman Mirza Murad is an innovative thinker and an astute practitioner with more than 20 years of multidisciplinary experience in Organizational Development, Talent Management & Business Transformation in a rich array of roles, e.g., Board Member, Senior Executive, Corporate Manager, Consultant, Trainer, Auditor, Author, Speaker, Mentor, etc… He ended the last decade as Globally Ranked #1 in HR and Culture, Top 5 in Leadership, Management and Change Management, Top 20 in Agility, Innovation and Future of Work, and Top 35 in Customer Experience, by the world’s first open platform, based in the USA, for Thought Leaders. https://www.thinkers360.com/about/
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