In Col. Arthur Athens’ recent story for Target Online, he shared the powerful story of Adm. Jim Stockdale’s time as a POW during the Vietnam War. During his captivity, Adm. Stockdale continued to lead his fellow captives with what Athens refers to as “hope anchored in reality.” Athens shares that there are four necessary steps for leaders to be messengers of hope: fortify our character, provide a vision, communicate with clarity and lead sacrificially.
From the frontlines to the C-suite, this is an important message for everyone to hear. We face unprecedented uncertainties and challenges, and all of us — by showing empathy, candor and compassion — can lead with hope, with honesty and with purpose.
While it’s true that we live in a time of social distancing that can make us feel isolated and alone, it’s also fair to say that we are better prepared to stay connected during a pandemic than at any other point in history. Many of us have the tools to work remotely: laptops and devices, Zoom, collaborative software, and other technologies. In our professional lives — and, of course, our personal lives — we have options to stay in touch through myriad social media platforms, email, texting and the good, old-fashioned telephone.
We are not out of the woods yet, but each day brings us closer to an end to this pandemic. We remain all in this together. Whether you work on the factory floor or in the front office, I encourage you to find your voice, be a leader and example for others, show empathy, and be a messenger of hope — anchored in reality — as we work together to find new ways to make our organizations and society adapt and function better.
AME has a principal role in this effort, and we are offering significant content and programming related to leadership and accountability in the coming weeks:
- Greg Williams will facilitate our weekly virtual lean coffee break idea exchange on June 2. Our focus will be on the topic of coaching.
- The next webinar in our Energize Your Journey webinar series with Lean Frontiers will take place on June 9 and feature Eric Kulikowski speaking on accountability.
- On June 11, we’re excited to host Katrina Appell’s webinar Leading with Respect for Better Performance.
- Then on June 18, Col. Athens will continue to unpack important leadership lessons during a webinar titled Leading at a Distance.
- In the meantime, New York Times bestselling author, Keith Ferrazzi shared eight research-based, high-return practices to build resilient teams in today’s Target Online.
AME members are better suited than others to overcome the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The continuous improvement mindset is in our DNA. We are constantly exploring new ideas and searching for better ways to do things. The world is always changing — because of a pandemic, disruptive technologies and countless other variables — and the lean principles AME supports and spreads continue to be invaluable resources for our members and community. Beyond our virtual programming, Consortia and Champions Club meetings, and best practice content, please let me know if there are specific ways that we can support you. I am just an email away.
And as always, please stay safe and keep looking out for one another.
P.S. If you missed the excellent, first webinar of our Pathway to Excellence series yesterday, you may access a recording of Harry Moser’s webinar, The COVID-19 Supply Chain Wake Up Call on our YouTube channel.