Covid-19 has spoken, now it’s time to listen to people

When you listen to people, you unearth their value

“Over recent months, Covid has spoken and now it’s time to listen to people”. That was Riccarda Zezza’s opening line at the Communication Forum 2020.

The past season has seen us all experience a transition, triggered by the Coronavirus pandemic. It has revealed that people carry an infinite amount of resources within themselves: all they need is a space to be able to express them. And according to Riccarda Zezza, this can make the difference between businesses treading water and prospering. So it’s important to know how to see what’s inside people: listen to them and stimulate them, understanding what motivates them and what stops them from moving forward. They are key elements for wellbeing and productivity in all roles, across all levels.

The phases of a crisis

Through the pandemic, there’s been an “impact” phase, and now we’re about to start the long neutral phase. This new beginning is uncertain and requires us to redefine our context. Each phase might overlap without a certain boundary. The outcome of the new beginning depends on us, which is why it’s important to guide the transition. To do so, all we have to do is make space for the “seeds of the future” that are already present within us. They need to be seen, recognised and nourished so that they can flourish. The question is: “how?”. “You don’t need to come up with big strategies” says Riccarda Zezza, “you just have to ask new questions and listen to the questions people are asking themselves”.

Lifeed Transitions participants have revealed new skills and awareness throughout the program. They have come up with some interesting responses to the question “What objectives are you setting yourself through this crisis?”. Change, understanding, transition, skills and awareness are the terms most used. This confirms that the “seeds of the future” are already within us. It’s completely valid to decide that you don’t want to “go back” to how things were before the crisis. You need to recognise that transitions are a natural part of life for people, organisations and society. Understanding them allows each person and organisation to not be passive when they come into contact with them.

61% of our webinar participants said that they were worried about the future: 50% are unsure, 34% are scared, 43% feel tired and 74% think that more people will need psychological support.

How will we change after the crisis?

But we don’t think there’s anything surprising about that: each transition offers an opportunity to learn something new. 56% of participants felt that they had gained greater flexibility and 45% saw new opportunities, while 41% felt that they had learned new skills. Most people feel they have become more flexible in the face of change, more resilient and more creative.

This confirms that we already have the grounds to create positive change. To make sure that those seeds flourish, we need to cultivate them, nourish them, care for them. Lifeed Transitions focuses participants, helping them in this task. These opportunities to positively change and upgrade our thinking come few and far between. In order to achieve the best results, you need to use the right ‘fertiliser’.

Guiding change to make it flourish

Organisations must not ignore or deny that the crisis exists or that it’s happening. They need to accompany people through transformation, to make sure people can move forward. They need to listen to them, help them and give them space to express themselves so they feel an active part of the process, rather than passive spectators.

It’s a chance to feel liberated too. Free “from” something, free from the routine that suffocated us, free from everything that oppressed us “before”. We have the opportunity to finally choose, to be different, to be free to express ourselves in a more linear way. It’s normal to feel afraid or anxious throughout this phase: they are signs of change, suggesting that we’re taking steps towards substantial change. We have been waiting in silence for months: we’ve seen and listened, but now we’re ready to make space for our dreams for the future.

Employee learnings can also become an opportunity to innovate with the corporate culture. Lifeed Transitions can help companies to build on their existing culture, as an opportunity to grow together. “Crisis” literally means chosen: we can choose to not turn back, but to become new people, new companies that have learned so much and that now can enjoy the results of those learnings.