Creativity, Uncertainty & Change part 2 with Janice Francisco

Cross-polliNation episode 39

Purpose & Change

“Why are we here? Why are we in business? What is the noble reason we’re here? We’ve got to keep that front and center.”

In the middle of the pandemic, everything is in flux, including our work. In this second part of the episode, Creativity, Curiosity and Change, Janice Francisco chats with Cross-polliNation on the skills that organizations and their leaders need to survive and thrive in this new environment.

Uncertain Times

“When we’re navigating through uncertainty, it’s very important to remember we can’t do long-term planning. Because what uncertainty brings is also ambiguity. We teach people how to deal with that.”

Francisco leads Bridgepoint Effect, a consultancy that works with companies to develop their capacity to think more creatively and innovate.

Changes like remote work, joining a new company and working with colleagues you’ve never met, as well as supply chain issues and other pandemic disruptions are understandably stressful. Francisco says we need qualities like self-compassion, patience and understanding more than ever at a time when uncertainty ranks among employees’ and organizational leaders’ biggest challenge.

Francisco views the pandemic as having significance in a way world wars did to earlier generations. “How can it not possibly shape us?” “We cannot operate in this environment the same way.”

3 Skills We Need Now

She believes that while we may not know what will happen next week, there are ways we can help ourselves through this period of disruption and uncertainty. Those ways include, encouraging our curiosity and cultivating curiosity to think more creatively to develop solutions to the challenges at hand.

Francisco talks about 3 important skills for organizations and their leaders right now:

  • Building trust
  • Being open
  • Willingness to keep learning

Trust, she believes is, “One of the conditions for creativity…in order to get creativity in the workplace, trust is required.”

Leaders, she says, need to be able to cultivate trust in their teams so that employees feel safe to speak up, propose new ideas and ask questions.

Reducing Anxiety

Francisco also talks about cultivating openness and how openness leads to greater willingness to think differently, be curious and consider new ideas. First, she says, we need to put aside some of our anxiety to think creatively and come up with solutions.

“Recognize how you’re living in a place of fear and what do you need to do to get out of it? How do we create options, how do we get that agility and resilience without feeling like things are out of control? Without feeling like we’re being tossed around on the ocean?”

Continuous learning is a third solution that Francisco proposes and learning, she believes, can help us all accept changes and adopt the new skills and ways of working we need to get through it.

Staying Viable

It’s clear the current period is temporary and it’s immensely disruptive. Creating trust among employees, practicing openness and continuous learning and a strong sense of curiosity are all ways organizations leaders can support their teams and tackle challenges to stay viable during the pandemic and into the future.