From Panic to Pivot – Euro Step Executive Coaching

These are the times that try men’s (and women’s) souls AND resilience

Never before in any of our lifetimes has there been such sustained uncertainty to deal with as the Coronavirus crisis and never before have people looked to leaders to first calm them down, provide realistic reassurance and help them believe and have confidence that we will all make it through this.

The measure of how much calm you as a leader can project and provide and resilience you can have to get through times like the Coronavirus crisis is how effectively and successfully you are able to pivot in the face of this threat and then help your people do the same.

Effective pivoting is on display in every NBA game you will ever see. The need to pivot occurs when you have stopped dribbling and your only choices are to shoot or pass the ball.

But what if you don’t know how to shoot or pass. You could try shooting, but your likelihood of making the basket is close to zero. You might have better luck passing, but if you don’t know how to do that, your chance of doing that successfully aren’t much higher.

But wait. There is another option.

You can hand off the ball to another player and if that player is LeBron James or Giannis Antetokounmpo, your chances for success go way up.

What’s the lesson?

Identify in your organization or company or community people who have a proven track record of:

  1. Dealing effectively with any other prior crises that involved major uncertainty
  2. Being able to remain calm, adaptive and proactive (vs. reactive) through crisis situations
  3. Being able to attract, engage and mobilize people to take necessary action

It would also be helpful if they have a parallel skill to the Euro Step maneuver made famous in the NBA by Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs:

I was told about this move and inspired by it from David Freeman. It is a move where by moving forward on one foot and then shifting to the other, you’re able to avoid defenders coming at you. In that way you don’t lose all your momentum, but pivot to another foot and seize an opening. Finding an opening would be very helpful in dealing with the Coronavirus epidemic.

You might find these people anywhere in your organization, but you haven’t discovered or utilized this talent… yet.

Reach out to your company’s workforce with the help of your HR department and identify and vet these people. Then gather them together online and tell them the problems to be solved in your company that are urgent (as in now) and critical (next three months).

Also tell them that in this time you need them when they communicate to be relevant, clear and concise and the we don’t have the time or luxury for people who aren’t able to speak in this manner.

What would be a collective Euro Step that the world needs to and could take with with Coronavirus invading the world?

One resource that has been enormously helpful to me in improving my Euro Step (since we are or should be lifelong learners) is: Workarounds that Work: How to Conquer Anything That Stands in Your Way at Work by Russell Bishop.

Here are the five essential steps that Bishop lays out that I like because they fit together like lego blocks (because I’ve discovered that anything that doesn’t fit together tightly creates cracks that are easy to fall through):

Here are Bishop’s steps. The steps as I understand them are simple and easy to follow:

Step 1 – Own It: The Coronavirus is upon us and is highly contagious with no vaccine or specific treatment. It’s not a bad dream… it’s really here.

Step 2 – Desired Outcome: Now what? Given that it is here what is the best thing we can do. It seems as if taking any measures that lessen the speed of contagion until health resources are able to handle the threat better is what we’re doing.

Step 3 – Control: What you can do without needing anyone else to move towards that desired outcome. You can wash your hands, social distance yourself, and stay home.

Step 4 – Influence: What you can’t do, that you will need others to provide and a plan for influencing them. Masks, gowns, hand sanitizer, ventilators, places to wash hands we’re all doing (which is already happening as companies in the private sector are stepping up to manufacture these). It is also helpful to support first responders and their families as best possible, because we need those first responders to be at the ready, available and not quarantined. Since we’re all isolating and going online, this would be a great time to reach out to people we know – even if we haven’t been in contact – with an email and simply say: “Happened upon your email address, just checking to see if you’re okay. We’re hanging in there” (DO NOT turn it into an sales pitch – keep it clean and personal agenda free).

Step 5 – Response-ability: How will you follow through with action after you have gone through steps 1-4.

Do yourself a favor. Get Russell Bishop’s book. You won’t regret it.

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