It’s that time of year again, the air is cooler in the morning and in the evening and the days are getting shorter; school supply commercials are reigning inboxes and TVs; apple and pumpkin spice flavors, decorations and scents clog the store aisles and drive through coffee dealers. But wait… this year is different for sure. While all of this seems to be happening earlier, it all has a very different angst about it. Instead of the excitement and emotion that going back to school brings, this year is filled with all that and then some. The world is twisted and the unknown prevails. Leaders are attempting to be agile while remaining optimistic. College students are being asked to live by more rules and sign agreements they know they can’t keep; parents are still shopping and loading up on supplies which now include masks, anti bacterial wipes, gel, spray and thermometers; while coordinated bedding, ramen and mini fridges still prevail, because being prepared with all the things one needs is half the battle. K – 12 will look, feel and be different and diverse as some return to school physically, others virtually and still others attempt a hybrid model. WFH is a new acronym added to our vocabulary and will likely remain there for the foreseeable future.
While all this is going on, our nation is a mess, riddled with issues at our borders, in our communities and between us. Fear and anxiety are the top scents as we engage in this change of season. We are looking for answers and those are changing as fast as the days are getting shorter; we are looking for leadership where it would seem like it is obvious to exist, but doesn’t. We are searching for direction to and from whatever the next few weeks and months will bring and that keeps changing too. In this time of constant change I think it’s important to take some time to keep it simple. I know, easy to say… hard to do. Here are few examples of where a twist in a paradigm is a little more achievable than a shift or a pivot. A twist is more slight, and can be incredibly effective. Think about some of the joys of summer: a twist ice cream cone which blends the flavors perfectly; twisting corn on the cob to get to the next row; twisting your view to see the rainbow after the storm; twisting your hand or foot to change the trajectory of a golf ball. Why pivot or shift abruptly and sharply when a little twist will do? Who needs a quick thank you or a virtual pat on the back? Who are the unsung heroes in your organization behind the scenes that could use a little love? A small twist in perspective, in thinking and in action can make a huge difference. Take a small twist instead of a big leap, shift or pivot and see what happens. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how a little twist in perspective, in tone and in action can create a larger shift in your current paradigm.