Social Intelligence in a Covid World

It has been about 4 years since I last wrote about the benefits of a minimalist organisation. Back then, I was using the Hampshire-based firm, Cougar Automation, as an exemplar in strengths-based minimalism. They valued congruence within a flat structure that engendered trust. The outcome was that the firm was not only financially successful, but also featured constantly on the UK’s “Best Place to Work” lists.

Fast forward to 2020 and many of my local authority clients are looking at how they run their organisations effectively within a Covid environment. The crisis has led them away from the old hierarchical power structures.

My own experience suggests that it is more difficult to exert power over Zoom or Teams whilst sat at your kitchen table, than it is dressed in a suit and tie in an office. Everyone has suddenly become very human, normal, and vulnerable. We all need each other like never before.

During Covid, many organisations have jettisoned a lot of superfluous hierarchies in favour of more fluid social structures. These are based on trust, shared values, personal wellbeing and community. On the face of it, it would seem that organisations have developed social intelligence almost overnight.  This might be experienced as becoming a community rather than a structure. Let us hope that we can continue to develop better ways of working in a post-Covid world.

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