In the classic feel-good movie “Dodge Ball”, legend Patches O’Houlihan, played by Rip Torn, yells these 5 words at the misfits of “Average Joe’s Gym”. That gym is owned by Peter LaFleur (Vince Vaughn). The gym is in debt and needs $50,000 to avoid being gobbled up by “Globo Gym” owned by the villain, White Goodman (Ben Stiller).
The solution is a challenge to an epic dodge ball championship. Patches is a legend in the game. Peter gets Patches to coach his gang to help them beat the bad guys.
“Dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge” sums up the ‘best’ coaching Patches can offer about how to play and win at dodge ball. But it works.
Life these days seems like a big game of dodge ball. None of us knows what may be coming at us next.
Leaders have an even bigger challenge trying to run their own life while looking out for the people around them.
We wake up each day, facing news about changes in COVID-19 numbers, possible cures, testing, social injustice, partisan politics, upcoming elections, economic impact, and oh by the way, figuring out how to provide schooling and child care.
Somewhere in all this, we have to get work done. The old norms just don’t apply. Standing still does not feel like a good option, yet where can we go?
The Leader’s Role
It’s too easy to simply say ‘no one has ever seen this before, so leadership is frozen.’ I categorically disagree.
Leadership should be thriving in this chaos. Good leaders should be rallying the teams, engaging and encouraging.
You don’t need to know the perfect answers, but you can offer perfect peace.
Many if not all of my clients are talking about the extraordinary challenges they are facing. There are pressures at work to create a new normal while wrestling economic impact in all sectors.
Plus there are pressures at home to handle childcare, at-home schooling and still get business related tasks done, it’s clearly overwhelming. (Not to mention round the clock co-inhabiting with the entire family.)
Even the best of relationships can be suffering.
What to Do
First, I encourage you to stay calm. Stop paying attention to the media outlets; all of them. Find a reliable source you can trust for news and updates, but avoid all other bombardment from the mainstream media. They hype and sensationalism will drive you mad.
Next, huddle with your teams. That includes family, friends and work associates. Obviously, not all at the same time, but separately, gather the teams and have huddles to talk about the situation.
Circumstances will change over time. A healthy discussion about each and every member of the team keeps them balanced and engaged. You may need to talk a few ‘off the ledge’ from time to time. But if you genuinely care about your people, you will invest the time to have the huddles.
As an example, I’ve been working with a group of small business owners. Before COVID-19, we met monthly. Once the pandemic escalated, they asked if we could meet weekly, which we have done. They all report that these routine huddles help them re-center their thoughts and ideas about what is happening.
Lastly, reconnect with your sense of personal purpose. If you believe in higher powers, strengthen that connection first. Call on the inner peace of knowing you are here for a purpose. Return to that core. Rekindle those values.
If you would like to know more about finding your personal purpose drop me note in the comments or schedule a short introductory call.
In the face of all that is going on, if you will consider these three simple things, you won’t feel like you’re playing dodge ball or have a retired coach throwing wrenches at you!