What If The Chaos IS The Development Opportunity?

Remember the days. Long, March days. One unit of exercise. One trip to the shops. If a trip to your local Sainsbury’s was the Olympic event that mine was, those outings were one and the same thing. The calendar tells me those days they were five (FIVE) months ago but I’ve started to suspect the calendar is a liar because there’s no way March is five months ago. (What is it now, May? June at the latest.)

There was a fleeting moment you might remember during those days (days I call Lockdown and anyone still calling it ‘The Lockdown’ I will happily unfriend on The Facebook) where we stopped to consider what we really needed. A hug, sure, but as that wasn’t allowed, our attention turned to personal development. Thousands took up yoga. Many more took up teaching themselves bread-making, a hobby that lasted as long as the trip to the shops to find yeast out of stock. Our furloughed friends looked to Udemy, Lynda and other made-up-word platforms to pay to be taught skills that anyone can learn on YouTube. I wasn’t furloughed but because I had FOMO, I did it too. We all gave some level of thought to how we could use a few months out of the office for our improvement. (I decided to watch a YouTube video ‘Get a “6 Pack” in 22 days’ and despite watching it daily, I’m yet to see the results. Also, why is 6 Pack in quote marks? Who are they quoting?) For a moment, we all cared about our own learning. It was brilliant.

We all gave some level of thought to how we could use a few months out of the office for our improvement.

We talked about how things would never go back to normal and that we could home-work indefinitely but that conversation was cut short by things going largely back to normal and not being able to home-work indefinitely. What do we do with learning and development now? We could put it on hold. Postpone the learning programme. But what if this season is  the development opportunity? If we don’t hone what we’ve learnt and take a retrospective on the “five months” that have passed, what will we take from an unprecedented event into our precedented futures? Plus, yeast is now back in stock.

For everyone working flat-out (and let’s face it, that’s you – even reading this article is procrastination at best) development hasn’t been front of mind. Instead of thinking about where we’re going in the next year, we’re thinking more where our organisations will be in the next three to six months. But the chaos of 2020 could be an unmissable leadership development opportunity if we remember the importance of investing in ourselves. If we’re waiting, what days are we waiting for? Maybe, now that it’s March 164th, these are the days.