Published on September 27th, 2020

It’s time for the human reboot

A while back I wrote about the human reboot.

While our normal daily activities were on pause, nature bounced back.

The human footprint on earth has lightened, with less human movement the planet has calmed but this regeneration is also apparent in our minds. I called it the human reboot; humanity undergoing a factory reset. We have been living on auto-pilot for so long, this crisis made us revert to our original state, go back to basics.

The three Cs of humanity

If we look back to our ancestors and how we have evolved, we see that human beings are hard-wired to seek close connections with one another; have a strong desire to care for each other, and are naturally inclined to contribute towards a common and meaningful purpose.

If we look back to our ancestors and how we have evolved, we see that human beings are hard-wired to seek close connections with one another; have a strong desire to care for each other, and are naturally inclined to contribute towards a common and meaningful purpose.

Everywhere I look, I see and hear stories of people strongly uniting behind the common purpose of overcoming the challenges brought by Covid-19 and openly embracing the change that was thrust upon us. I have met my neighbours for the first time since I moved in 2 years ago. I have spoken to other parents in the playground that I have seen many times in the past but never spoken to. I have face-timed and reconnected with people whom I have not had any contact with in these past years. I have received flowers from my team at work simply to say thank you for being me. We have received freshly baked apple pie from our downstairs neighbour. We have created a family WhatsApp group with 44 cousins and aunts

and uncles from all over the world. I dropped hand written notes to my elderly neighbours asking them if I could help them with grocery shopping. I could go on, but what these examples show us is the three Cs in action - our basic instincts are to connect, care and contribute to each other’s lives.

A new reality

The lives we knew, the daily routines we lived by, even our need for control have disappeared in front of our own eyes. Our normal is no longer. Some celebrate this as a victory, others long for the return of the normalcy they knew, and yet others wish for a new normal and with this a new reality.

A new reality built around a common good and a shared vision for a renewed set of values, renewed beliefs, renewed hopes, renewed dreams and renewed ambitions. A renewed relationship with each other.

A new reality where the factory reset ‘deletes’ old habits and creates space for us to ‘download’ new ones based on trust, compassion, kindness and forgiveness.

A new operating model

What I didn’t realise back then was that factory resets, just like software updates are quick and often short-term fixes that provide a much needed boost, like that juice detox, or that mindfulness course we embark on. Examples of us wanting to improve our ‘operating system’. And it was then that it struck me. We need a factory reset yes, to take us back to basics, to the three Cs. However to ensure that we sustain these beliefs and values we need a new operating model. We need to systematically change. Create new regulations, new procedures, new policies and a new societal governing system.

A factory reset without a new operating model will eventually lead to old behaviours and old habits, no matter what initiatives we take. What we need is both a factory reset and a new operating model.

But this doesn’t mean we have to wait for the big nations and our governments to provide a solution. We can lead the way by keeping the 3 Cs in mind and by becoming more involved in our communities and with our neighbours, improving the lives of those near us. If we all

did that, the ripple effect would stand a much better chance of addressing some of the system inequalities that exist.

A call to action for Organisations, Leaders and Employees

For organisations, this means re-inventing policies and procedures, re-inventing performance and talent development processes and re-inventing the organizational governance model. It means creating inclusive environments which value people for who they are, the unique contributions they make, celebrate them for their strengths and respect them for their differences.

Organisations should be asking “Are we creating an inclusive, purposeful and caring workplace?” And “are we adding value and improving the lives of all our stakeholders?”

For leaders this means creating a psychologically safe workplace that invites employees to be who they are, to bring their whole self to work. To listen authentically; genuinely care for their people and, now more than ever, lead by example.

Leaders should be asking “what action can I take now to make your experience as an employee better today than it was yesterday?” (by Raj Sisodia in Healing Organisations). When leaders connect with the heart and mind of employees they will see not only a significant change in employee motivation, engagement and happiness, but also a positive impact in business value.

For employees this means exercising self-leadership and looking after one another. Asking the question “what action can I take today that will ensure you leave work feeling better off than when you came in?”.

Let’s make a pact to put people first. To develop strong connections with others. To care for the welfare and well-being of those around us. To unite and contribute towards a better life for us all. The future is now.

Be kind, spread joy, love unconditionally and take care of your neighbour. May these principles govern our new operating model.