Can FEAR and FAILURES be part of a learning process? With all that has been happening, thisseems to be a good time for the last of my three-part series. As a brief recap from my previous posts, the series started with Why I chose CPS to pursue my dream!, then I shared Unlocking Opportunities! And the journey continues…
In my final quarter at CPS, I focused my energies on the job search process. I spoke with many recruiters, sent many emails, applied to many jobs, and gave many interviews. Sound familiar? When I hear and see success stories, I keep in mind that I am only seeing the tip of the iceberg – there is so much underneath. Trust me, the learning during the process is powerful, embrace it!
Moreover, I love this quote from Robert Stevenson, “keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.” Hence, I decided to explore how my fears were overcome by my courage and how my failures generatedmotivation. By taking an inventory of my broad experiences, skills, and competencies, I prophesied that my career development goals are attainable.
Starting in March of 2020, I have been consuming an overwhelming amount of online content in an attempt to track the labyrinth of chaos we are facing in our world today. While writing this piece, there were times that I felt paralyzed and unable to bring my words to light.
My struggle was mitigated when Professor Patty shared her observation of my recent educational experiences. She described it as a Journey of Resilience. I had never thought of myself as Resilient. Yet, upon reflection, she might be right.
Researching resiliency – My perspective
Before proclaiming myself as resilient, I had to learn more about the concept. I read a journal on resilience definitions, theory, and challenges, along with interdisciplinary perspectives. The most striking perspective on resilience is that it can be in different aspects of life. One could be culturally, biologically, emotionally, academically, and/or professionally resilient (Southwick, Bonanno, Masten, Brick, Yehuda, 2014).
Over the past 10 years I have been involved in projects where we used e-mail based social network analysis and a “virtual mirroring process” to let employees learn about their own communication behavior tracked through e-mail analysis. Through a process of open dialog, employees are provided with a unique opportunity to constantly discuss group dynamics and leadership behavior that are usually taken for granted. This process is essential to nurture the creation of communities where clients and employees participate in a process of knowledge co-creation.
The expression ‘we’re in uncharted waters’ seems very apt during the Covid-19 pandemic. There are plenty of questions to ask. What does this mean for me and my organization? What will be the next normal? In unprecedented situations like this one, there are no simple answers, no ‘best practices’ that we can turn to. But this is also a time when professional networks demonstrate their value. We can share experiences of what has worked and what hasn’t and brainstorm ways to address new challenges…and old ones.
From panic buying to online shopping, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted consumer behaviors during very short period of time. Since I teach Consumer Behaviors in the online environment in our graduate program, I would like to discuss the emerging consumer behaviors, analyze the underlying factors that drive the behavioral changes, and provide suggestions about organizational response strategies. So far, four consumption trends have emerged.
How are communication leaders around the world responding to the Covid-19 pandemic? What do they see as challenges? And how will they adapt to a post-pandemic environment?
These are some of the topics we discussed with Artemio Garza, who leads Egon Zehnder’s Communication Officers practice in North America. Artemio is a core member of Egon Zehnder’s Marketing and Digital practices. Based in Miami, his special focus is on multi-unit retail, consumer goods, and private equity companies.
Carl Zangerl (CZ): Tell us about what your job at Egon Zehnder entails.
Artemio Garza (AG): Our mission at Egon Zehnder is to create a better world through great leadership. I have a marketing and communication background myself, and I advise companies on how to structure their communication functions and help identify people who can assume leadership roles.
We’ve been talking about the term ‘digital transformation’ for a long time. Many organizations have been re-thinking how they do business, how they interact with customers, and how they engage their own people.
The realization is now setting in that the current Covid-19 crisis is accelerating the pace of digital transformation. I regularly turn to McKinsey for insights on what’s going on in the economy and organizational change.
Here’s what they they are thinking: “The coronavirus pandemic is a humanitarian crisis that continues to take a tragic toll on people’s lives. There’s no denying it is also acting as a catalyst for change—economic, societal, personal, and corporate—on a scale not seen since wartime. The scale of the change and the speed at which it’s happening is shining a bright light on the fact that companies are facing a once-in-a-generation shift. And for all the uncertainty about what the future will look like, it’s clear already that it will be digital.”
So what are the implications of all of this us, as communicators?
During my tenure on the board of the Boston chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators, I had the good fortune of meeting and staying in touch with Jodi Freedman. Jodi was a communication leader at the Bose Corporation for many years and recently accepted a position in an entirely different sector (healthcare) and during an extraordinary time (the Covid-19 pandemic).
She posted the following article on LinkedIn, and her reflections deeply resonated with me — facing the challenges of learning about a new organization and sector, compounded by those unleashed by a profound crisis.
Finding My Place in the Cross-Cultural Communication Field
It was three years ago that my career gained what I thought was to be my launch into the global market. After graduating from college and achieving my dream job of working at a huge corporation in Tokyo, the unexpected occurred. Within six months, I quit and moved back to my home country, the USA.
Deciding to leave so quickly shocked not only my community, but also myself. I had spent four years learning about Japanese language and culture. Having studied abroad, researched, and interned in Japan. I had braced myself for expected sexism in the workplace, strong drinking culture, and even power harassment. However, the one thing that was I had not prepared for was my own lack of cultural agility.
Despite knowing what the Japanese perspective might be, I found myself defining right and wrong. I would often deem Japanese corporate culture to be unhealthy for its collective mindset, in contrast to my valuing individuality and freedom as someone raised in the USA. When I ended up leaving Japan to pursue a career in cross-cultural communication, I came away from the experience subconsciously wanting to fix Japan. I had a vision and a strategic plan; next steps were to gain the tools.
In her blog, alumna Stacy Raine, CPS’17, shares her perspectives on many issues facing communicators, especially those working in the non-profit sector.
In her most recent post, she discusses communication with donors during the coronavirus pandemic and makes several excellent suggestions.
I couldn’t agree more with Stacy: “We’re all in this together, helping each other get through a very tough time. I keep hearing that we need to “be human” together, and I couldn’t agree more. Be human, focus on helping people get through this crisis through providing opportunities to connect and learn, and build engagement with your donors.”