A Different Kind Of PPE

Let's Get Philosophical  |  June 11, 2020

Over the past several months there have been a lot of business buzzwords whizzing through the atmosphere in attempts to draw leaders’ attention to things that are mission-critical in these exceptional times. They are like darts flying through the air hoping to hit the target. Some have been trending for years: agility, innovation, efficiency, uncertainty, change, corporate culture, virtual work, the gig-economy. For me, most of these concepts are tightly aligned with my day-to-day work in training and development. Heck, the entire KnowledgeForce business model is built upon the belief that people, processes, and approaches change and that our teams need to be continuously learning and growing in order to keep driving business positively forward. But nothing has driven home these buzzwords in one fallow swoop like our recent experiences with the global pandemic and in the United States the protests seeking to drive change in regards to systematic inequality and injustice. Today I am choosing to add one more––psychological PPE.

For many of us, these times have left us spinning and looking for ways to quickly adapt and foster resiliency to not only survive but thrive; to come out of this stronger than we went in. I certainly don’t have the magic solution (as much as I wish for others and myself that I did) but what I have distilled the past several months down to is this…as a business community we have been focusing on the need for physical PPE (personal protective equipment) to help protect our employees from harm. And although we still will need that, it’s time as leaders to turn our attention to how we can protect our people by fostering psychological PPE in our workplaces.

I have begun to more clearly see how ill-equipped many of us are at knowing how to provide psychological safety. I don’t blame leaders and business-owners—it is hard and challenging work—people have individualized needs based on their personal experiences. But what I do know is it is time for us to invest as heavily in this as we do in things that improve efficiency and productivity.

For me, this is about developing the skills of Patience, Persistence, Endurance. What do you think is the psychological PPE your people and teams need to build a stronger, more resilient, more equitable, and more just corporate environment?

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