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TikTok is a cultural phenomenon. In many ways, it has been the primary distraction during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether it’s dance challenges, pranking family members or celebrity peeks into their lives, the platform has garnered millions of views and thousands of new accounts. Some of my favorites are the cool videos of golf trick shots, obstacle courses and house-covering domino setups. The patience it takes, for instance, to setup dominos across bedrooms, down the stairs, through kitchens and living rooms, and ending with a splash in the backyard pool is remarkable. I struggle to be patient getting Disney+ to work on my Amazon Fire Stick (I digress with tension in my fingers). But the celebration experienced by those who set up such a course when it all works is invigorating. Their efforts worked out and there is joy!
With many business owners and senior leadership, the effort to set up the dominoes for a return to work plan is taking up much of their time. Care and consideration are generally being applied to the course, understanding that as one domino (an initial step in the plan) falls, the next will engage. For some leaders, this represents the first time in quite a while where such deliberate care is placed. That is not necessarily meant as an indictment, but rather a reality. The process of work prior to the current health situation may have been very go-go-go, not leaving much time for care at the level desired.
It is, also, showing some leaders that they are out of practice. Being able to partner with business owners and senior leaders as they dive into planning, often creating and sharing those plans with me ahead of launch, has led to some deep conversations and corporate soul-searching. Some of these plans have shown themselves to be caring in consideration but not careful of the big picture. Picture, if you will, a dominoes path setup in a circle about six feet in diameter. Yes, those dominoes may have been setup with care and consideration, but they are not very wide in scope or representative of more than just one room, if we’re using the TikTok example.
The knee-jerk consideration is about getting back to doing the work. That’s a right thought. How will we get work done moving forward? What changes, if any, will have to be made? What will that do to the output of service or product that we produce? These questions, and ones connected to them, have to do with getting work done. But, we do need to remember that in the room next door is employee relations. Think about how the dominoes from how work will get done connect to how those doing the work will feel, maintain safety and potentially respond to the work process. This is not only about the “feels” of getting work done, but the requirements of safety, both mentally and physically, of getting that work done.
From there, the dominoes will need to travel into the physical office setup and telecommuting, scheduling, performance management, employment branding and corporate marketing, talent acquisition…and the list goes on. It’s a big house in which we have to set these dominoes up. The mini-circle of dominoes in one room might feel for a quick minute that we’ve done something, but its lasting effect may be over as soon as it began.
Perhaps assigning each member of senior leadership and those key personnel one “room” of responsibility to come back with so that another person can bridge the transition dominoes connecting each room would be helpful. We need many eyes on how our return to work plan should function – for compliance, for fit, for function and for success.
If you set this up well, it might make for a cool internal TikTok video. And yes, you can dance, too.