An Opportunity: The Crucible of Covid


Co-Authored by Mark Kamin, CEO, Marcea Wolf-Carter, Partner & Senior Program Leader,
and Kenda-Le Pernin, Senior Program Leader

Our last blog, The Economy, Business Performance and People, discussed the impact of the “freak out” associated with the lock down of the America economy. And even though the economy has reopened, we strongly believe the fundamental impediments to performance for people and organizations have not disappeared. Perhaps, they have grown more daunting.

People in organizations are either trying to survive something that is threatening (like a very weak economy) OR, they are creating the possibility of excellence and high performance. As we said in our last blog, those that seize the moment now, will capture market share when the economy starts truly coming back early next year.

It’s all a matter of context, and the context that drives how you and your team view this unusual time will be decisive for your future.*1

Renowned business guru Warren Bennis defined a Crucible Event as “an intense, often traumatic, always unplanned experience”. According to Bennis, how leaders respond to Crucible Events can “transform them and become the source of their distinctive leadership abilities.”

*Source: Harvard Business School article “Crucibles of Leadership” by Warren Bennis and Robert Thomas

We invite you to create and declare that these circumstances provide an opportunity for you to transform yourself as a leader……a leader capable of causing a new and powerful context for your team to be extraordinary.

We invite leaders to deliberately and intentionally create a powerful new context that allows for people to have whatever emotions are triggered by the uncertainties of our world today , and leads people to a way of looking at life that is very empowering.

We invite you to consider that there is always a default context.

This default context is often hidden from our view and lives in our blind spots.*1 If there is any lack of engagement, teamwork, or performance….

In the next blog we will dive deeply into the power of context to shape performance.

If you and others are not empowered… is the default context that is running the show. That default context is some version of surviving the uncertainty.

We promise. That is what is going on.

What new context could you create for yourself and your organization that would displace the future that is uncertain with a future you create?

*1 Source: Erhard, Werner and Jensen, Michael C. and Zaffron, Steve and Echeverria, Jeronima, Course Materials for: ‘Being a Leader and the Effective Exercise of Leadership: An Ontological/Phenomenological Model’ (January 10, 2020). Harvard Business School NOM Working Paper No. 09-038

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