Slow down to go faster.

Thriving as a team in times of ambiguity and change.

The ability to effectively cope with change, navigate uncertainty and act without the full picture is certainly a skill that effective teams have had to develop – well before the arrival of COVID-19. During this current period of uncertainty, we have all been compelled to draw on these skills and act out of immediate necessity – to make rapid decisions, re-think, re-prioritise and adapt for the future. This is galvanising and testing even the strongest and healthiest of teams.

Hitting the pause button

I think we all recognise that COVID-19 is not a normal ‘bump in the road’. As a team, we’ve reflected on what opportunities and learnings COVID-19 has given us.

We considered; ‘if COVID-19 were a key stakeholder and it’s here to tell us and teach us something, what would it be saying to us – as a team and as a business?’

As a team, we’ve paused to ponder this question. We’ve also spoken with other leaders, teams and organisations to try and understand how they are managing and navigating this moment in history to emerge stronger than ever.

Through these conversations we heard many things, but a few really stood out. . .

“It’s great we can all meet and see each other on screen but I miss bumping into people and having those small, ‘off-the-cuff’ chats – I realise we got a lot of work done in those quick conversations!”


“It’s shown us that we need to really align, to talk about the important stuff to move forward together. We need to harness all of our thinking – I am worried that we’ll end up becoming more siloed though.”

“How do we find and create clarity when everything is so up in the air? But that is exactly what we need to do – we have to look ahead.”


“The way we work has changed forever. It’s shown us how adaptive we can really be; one day we were in the office and the next we were at home – and everything worked! We haven’t really thought about how else we need to adapt though or even how sustainable these new ways of working are – are they even working?”


One of the key themes (and it’s no surprise, as we feel the same way) that runs through all of our work and conversations is around the very human need to feel connected to others. It goes beyond simply needing to feel safe and part of a tribe or team (although that’s crucial) but recognising that no one person is equipped to manage such ambiguity.

We need to work together more than ever….really becoming a team that is greater than the sum of its parts.

It is this sense of connectedness that has focused us, at Facet5, as a team and allowed us to purposefully stop and reflect. Allowing us to lift our collective heads to think about what next? How do we THRIVE?

Changing gear

So, in times of change and ambiguity here’s what we believe teams should focus on in order to THRIVE. . .

Make & take the time to stop and intentionally reflect.
Ensure you have clarity about your collective purpose and priorities.
Is everyone supported?

Proactively build collective performance
Focus on being more resourceful as a team.
Enable improvisation and adaption.

Cultivate a team culture of trust and psychological safety
Enhances engagement, speed of delivery and resilience.

Commit to quality, ongoing conversations
Great conversations are like what oil is to an engine – they make everything else work smoothly!

Slow down to go faster

We are truly privileged to work with a wide range of people and groups. They have shown us how agile and resilient we can be.

The teams that are taking time to deliberately pause, reflect, and reset are reaping the rewards of their efforts.

Having facilitated many of these type of discussions recently, people have left saying they felt rejuvenated, re-energised and reconnected to each other and their work. They are laying the foundation to ensure team and business success.

The more change speeds up, the greater the need to pause and make sure we get it right; before racing in a new direction or indeed, maintaining the same course.

We are interested in how you and your teams are responding. What are you doing that ensures you are able to not only survive but thrive?

Author: Grant Gemmell

Thank you to Tracy Arnold from Double Yolk for her significant contribution to this article and expertise in Team Development.

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