Resilient, Agile Leadership for Post-Pandemic Progress

17 Feb 2021 10:33 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

It's one thing for leaders to respond to an epidemic, a natural disaster, or any other catastrophe. It's another to manage the aftermath of such disruption.

Recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, which has subjected four out of five workers to quarantine or lockdowns, calls on leaders to develop talent strategies for short- and long-term success.

Resilient, agile leaders help their organizations, workforce and stakeholders address current needs and move forward by

  • shifting their mindset from short-term response to longer-term recovery;
  • recognizing uncertainties and navigate through them;
  • building and reinforcing trust among stakeholders;
  • launching a recovery plan that includes clear goals; and
  • learning from what others accomplish.

They will navigate from this current crisis to a "new normal" in three steps:

  • Crisis management: Respond to the situation to help move past it.
  • Reflection: Recover from the emergency, reflect on lessons learned, and prepare for future disruptions.
  • Creating the new paradigm: Imagine new futures
  • Implementation: Shepherd the workforce through transformative change

Crisis Management

Many organizations have adjusted to the pandemic by prioritizing health and safety, enabling employees to work from home, using new technologies. Other organizations are still struggling with the current crisis, surviving week by week and unable to plan for the future.

Regardless of their current circumstances, all organizations need to develop new strategies for success in the post-pandemic world. Organizations with outdated business models or fundamentally changed markets face the most significant challenges. Their leaders must consider alternative business models, products, and services to create sustainable, future-friendly strategies. Agile leaders will face these challenges head-on, regarding adaptation and recovery as essential parts of their journey. Then they will take decisive action that suits their location and industry.


Organizations that have adapted to the pandemic can now evaluate current practices and reposition themselves to address new realities. It is tempting to shrug off reflection and pretend that everything will return to normal. However, those who go back to their old ways might struggle to compete against organizations that reassess their business models and talent strategies.

As organizations recover, effective leaders will differentiate between essential and non-essential resources. They will collaborate with others to discover creative solutions.

Creating the New Paradigm

The pandemic, along with dramatic changes in technologies and business models, presents an opportunity to reallocate tasks and reimagine the workplace. Of course, leaders cannot expect to have detailed timelines, but it is good to start envisioning the post-pandemic world and working toward it.

Leaders can work together to share insights about recovery strategies and define the organization's priorities and overall direction. Considering three key topics will help shape their thinking:

  • Purpose: What are the organization's mission, vision, and values?
  • Potential: How will the organization be designed to achieve its potential?
  • Perspective: How can the organization move confidently into the future?

Each organization will have unique dilemmas to resolve – many of them focused on the workforce. Some organizations might rehire furloughed employees. And some might recruit more employees or bring on "gig" workers. Many are looking at AI and automation to perform routine or repetitive tasks and assign more intricate work to people.

Some leaders will debate how much to support working from home versus the office and whether to make work schedules more flexible. With staff having worked remotely for many months, leaders are reevaluating the need for office space. If they reopen their offices, they must how much workspace they will need. Man y leaders may plan to accommodate teams that work remotely for most of the time and meet only occasionally in person.


Stephen Hawking famously said, “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” Skillful leaders will move quickly to implement the changes that will help their organizations succeed. But they anticipate the tensions that could arise as people adapt to a new reality and address these tensions with vision and empathy. They realize that transformative change can affect individuals, teams, and organizations differently. They understand that not every individual will cope in the same way – acknowledging that one person can be comfortable in the new normal while another isn't. They consider and balance these needs and preferences to retain and nourish trust.

There is still tremendous uncertainty in the global workforce, but one thing we know for sure: clients, customers, suppliers, partners, and employees are waiting and watching as organizations redefine their brands, reestablish their reputations, reposition themselves to compete, and achieve success in the post-COVID world. Organizations with resilient, agile leaders at the helm are the most likely to thrive.

About the Talent Transformation Guild

The Talent Transformation Guild provides resources for professionals that are preparing for upskilling being triggered by 4th industrial revolution and accelerated by Covid-19. Members include c-level executives, human resource professionals, consultants, and coaches. As a member-driven organization it promotes best practices via webcasts, webinars, podcasts, articles, white papers, research and conversations to improve and make the best of the talents of individuals for the benefit of themselves and the organisations they work for.

The Guild enable stimulating and meaningful discussions to help professionals prepare for talent transformations at individual, team and organizational levels. The Guild supports the Talent Transformation Pyramid, an open source model, designed specifically to recognize the widest possible range of talent influencers and skills. To date many decision-makers are caught in traditional, linear thinking and immediate concerns to consider this. The Talent Transformation Pyramid enables you to address the challenge by promoting more strategic thinking with a focus on an organization’s readiness to perform.

About the Future of Work

According to the World Economic Forum, new and emerging technologies are affecting our lives in ways that indicate we are at the beginning of a Fourth Industrial Revolution. This new era will build and extend the impact of digitization in new and unimaginable ways. The Fourth Industrial Revolution can be described as the advent of “cyber-physical systems” involving new capabilities for people and machines. This will see new ways for technology to become embedded within societies and even our bodies.

With process automation, robotic automation, the internet of things the nature of work will change. Some analysts predict that more than 40% of tasks currently performed by humans will be delegated to machines. This does not mean that 40% of people will be put out of work but it does mean that most workers will have to upskill. HR experts are predicting this will dramatically change the landscape of our workforce.

About the Guild's Founders

Eric Shepherd an accomplished leader of international businesses and associations focused on talent, assessments, and success. Eric recently stepped away from a CEO role where he worked to build a SaaS company into a multi-million-dollar international assessment software business. Eric has also led industry and standards initiatives to promote best practices for assessments, learning, and interoperability. He currently serves as Chair of the IEEE P1484.20.2 working group developing Recommended Practice for Defining Competencies. Eric has previously served on Boards and working groups for:

  • HR Open Standards that defines interoperability standards for HR technology.
  • Association of Test Publishers and the European Association of Test Publishers that represents providers of tests and assessment tools.
  • The IEEE P1484.20.1 Standard for Learning Technology—Data Model for Reusable Competency Definitions working group.
  • IMS which defines interoperability standards for educational technology. 

Eric was instrumental in developing the IMS QTI interoperability standard and assisted with the US Department of Defense Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) initiative to define the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) and the Aviation Industry Computer-Based Training Committee (AICC) to define launch and track standards for Learning Management Systems.

Martin Belton has provided marketing solutions to organizations supplying HR and Learning solutions throughout Europe. After working with some of the UK’s leading PR Consultancies, he joined Questionmark where he was Sales and Marketing Director working alongside Talent Transformation’s co-founder Eric Shepherd. He was also Sales & Marketing Director at Kallidus (formerly e2train) for seven years before working as a marketing consultant to organizations supplying talent and learning systems including Netex and Saba. Most recently Martin has organized the eLearning Network Annual conference and exhibition.

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