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Kaizen CEO Questions How COVID is Impacting Company Culture, Business Relationships

Derrick Evers: How do you explain that authentic connections matter in business when you're not able to look them in the eye to communicate it?
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I need to confess. I’m not particularly proud of this, but I’m going to keep it real for you—I need to get back in the office.

I tried buying into Zoom meetings, electronic communication, and virtual Happy Hours, but it’s just not filling the void. I have officially turned into that cranky guy that speaks about the good ole’ days when we used to look people in the eyes and develop something more profound. The world may be “swiping left” on my digital relationship, and I don’t know how to feel about it!

Derrick Evers

We are living in some unprecedented times, and yes, the uneasiness about returning to work is warranted. Both family—and those I consider family—are being directly affected by this global pandemic, and we all are searching for the right way to move forward (prayers to any of you going through the same thing). But, I do find myself asking the type of questions you too may be wondering: When will this end? What does our new normal look like? Will I ever feel safe? And my wife’s favorite, “Don’t you have someplace else to be other than here with me?”

I often think about our young professionals routinely trying to navigate in this environment.

When living in this Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat age—how do you explain that authentic connections matter in business when you’re not able to look them in the eye to communicate it?

“Don’t count the days, Make the days count” – Muhammad Ali

I don’t see how organizations can have a sustainable culture if you are entirely digital. In my experience, it’s not just the content of how you perform tasks. Still, it’s the natural collisions that happen unprompted when walking down the halls, or while grabbing a cup of coffee or overhearing a conversation that creates a spark for accretive value to all. None of that occurs if you are logging on or off at a particular time.

Organizations have spent years creating cultures. I had one CEO tell me, “I hate this because we become a commodity that is more easily transferrable if everyone becomes a platform employee versus someone that feels a deeper connection to what we create as a company.”

As an entrepreneur, my natural tendency is to leap and grow wings on the way down. I’m asking myself, is this another opportunity to see what we’re made of? Here’s what I know based on my personal life experiences: We’re not in control anyway, so you may as well release that notion. Creativity happens through discovery. And, success favors the bold.

While I don’t pretend to have all the answers, I will submit to you that we won’t be standing still waiting for someone to feed us the solutions. I hope to see you soon … just not on Zoom!

Derrick Evers is the managing partner and chief executive officer with Kaizen.