Updated: Aug 3
As a single dad, I was often left to my own devices without the influence of a woman to let me know when I may have been a little over the top. So when my teenagers were having a hard time waking up for school, I decided to play Ozzie Osbourne's, Crazy Train at 6 am loud enough to wake the dead. ALL ABOARD.
While we did not know it, a little over a year ago we all boarded the COVID Crazy Train, devoid of Ozzie's great guitar riffs. The 15 days to flatten the curve morphed into a Crazy Train on every level. When I trained as a leadership coach, I learned that only 10 percent of our most highly evolved transformative leaders can effectively manage large organizations in our pre-2020 VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world. The COVID Crazy Train didn't care how evolved anyone was. ALL ABOARD.
This train I am sitting in once carried miners into the most profitable gold mine in the US. Now it rests on a hillside near Juneau where it was abandoned 100 years ago. It is hard to predict what relics or even core elements of today's successful businesses will be metaphorically rusting abandoned in the aftermath of COVID. Living through time of a deep transformative change it is hard to know if anything will remain the same.
As organizations pivot to understand and respond to the tectonic shifts in the environment, the changes occurring within organizations are equally unprecedented. Organizations already have adapted to remote work and employees demanding more work-life balance. It may be harder to notice the impact of the COVID Crazy Train on mental health within every organization. After the Spanish Flu, there was a 20% increase in mental health problems each year for four consecutive years. How will the mental health and substance abuse issues impact businesses? What will be required of leaders in this unprecedented change within their organization? Will we need Chief Psychological Officers?
What does this all of this mean for today's Leaders?
Your own personal self-care has never been more important. Keep your mental health routines in place: personal therapy/coaching, meditation, work/life balance, diet, exercise, and spiritual practices.
Lead with empathy. In an age of tribalism, where we are encouraged to hate differences, we need to increase our compassion and understanding for each other. We need to appreciate how hard it has been to ride on the COVID Crazy Train.
Embrace change and help others increase their tolerance for change. The book Who Moved My Cheese explored different psychological responses we have in response to change. Unfortunately, the cheese was thrown off the COVID Crazy Train over a year ago. Resisting change is no longer an option.
Don't join the negativity. Social media embraces put downs and supports the delusion we are superior in relation to others. Inoculate your organization by increasing positive feedback and encouraging others.
Don't wake up teenagers with heavy metal music. Just trust me on this one.
And maybe leaders in 2021 can benefit from listening to Crazy Train (the link is below).
Crazy, but that's how it goes
Millions of people living as foes
Maybe. It's not too late
To learn how to love, and forget how to hate
Ozzy Osbourne, 1980