The Gifts of the Pandemic | Stronger Through Purpose

The indoor roller coaster ride, Space Mountain, at Disney World lasts 2 minutes and 30 seconds, plummeting riders into darkness and a heart-pounding adventure. Now imagine you strap into your Space Mountain ride, and it lasts more than two and 1/2 minutes. Imagine you’re still going for two and ½ hours, and you have no idea when the ride will end. Such is the state of disequilibrium most of us have experienced during the pandemic.

This is the fifth post in my series titled The Gifts of the Pandemic.

So far in this series, we’ve looked at pandemic gifts or teachable moments that include:

  • Learning
  • Humility
  • Empathy
  • Adaptivity

Upcoming installments will focus on:

  • Gratitude
  • Human Experience Elevation

Keeping with our Space Mountain example, you’ve likely struggled to manage the speed of change needed to navigate the continual twists and turns of the pandemic. You probably had few options to slow or stop this ride. So where do you turn? Steve Klingman, the President of Hayden Homes, says you should turn to your purpose. Hayden Homes is a client of mine that builds homes in the Pacific Northwest. They routinely receive awards for their team member experience, customer service, and philanthropy. Here’s how Steve puts it:

“A lot was coming at us at once, especially since new home construction had very different restrictions across the states where we operate. Given the speed of change, we had the natural tendency to be reactive. We corrected that by doubling down on our guiding principles. Before the pandemic, we developed cultural rituals like reciting our principles at the beginning of meetings, sharing stories to demonstrate how we put our mission and core values into action every day and building strategies based on the mission. We just needed to trust our culture would show up and show us the way through the pandemic.”

Steve added, “We exist to give as we go, so together we can build community and lead fulfilled lives. That mission guided us down paths of generosity and fulfillment for our homeowners, team members, and communities. During the pandemic, we stayed true to what we trained people on and talked about it incessantly before the crisis. That helped us slow down and manage challenges more effectively. We were less reactive and more proactive. In the process, we focused on the importance of home building, especially our commitment to affordable housing in the United States, and we navigated through the fog and darkness to execute our strategy. I am pleased with how we performed during the pandemic, especially in areas like homeowner experience and even positioning our brand.”

So in the spirit of my weekly challenge, I’d like to ask you the following questions:

  1. How have you experienced disorientation during the pandemic?
  2. Were there times in the context of COVID-19 where you wanted to slow down or stop the twists and turns? If so, how did you cope?
  3. How might your mission, vision, and values slow down the speed of change brought on by the pandemic?
  4. How might your mission, vision, and values help you gain your bearings when everything seems to be spinning around you?

For more about the gift of purpose, I hope you’ll pick-up or gift a copy of my book Stronger Through Adversity, which provides more than 20 pandemic forged lessons from 140 plus leaders like the CEOs and Presidents of Target, Verizon, Kohl’s, Microsoft, and Marriott. My purpose is to “serve those who serve well,” so I’m donating a portion of the book’s proceeds to the international nonprofit Direct Relief, which provides food and supplies to those on the frontline.

I’d like to invite you to join my guests and me for LinkedIn Live conversations every Thursday at 12:30 p.m. Eastern. Until then, may you be Stronger Through Adversity thanks to the gift of purpose.

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Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.

Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

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