Facilitating a journey through Covid: stories and lessons

Organizations are intentionally debriefing their Covid “journeys” while acknowledging that the pandemic still exists. Recently, I facilitated a 2½-hour session with the 15-person leadership team of a nonprofit organization. The team wanted to:

– Remember and acknowledge the events that they experienced during Covid in their work – the highs and the lows
– Express their emotions about what took place 
– Identify the lessons they learned
– Develop actions to carry forward the lessons

I used a Journey Wall activity which is a version of the Historical Scan, a highly beneficial Technology of Participation #ToP method. See my blog for details about the Historical Scan method. http://www.barbpedersen.ca/learning-from-our-past-to-plan-our-future-a-historical-scan/

For the journey through Covid, we used four time blocks that roughly corresponded with the Covid “waves” we experienced in Alberta Canada, and the health protocols and restrictions put in place by the government.

1.     March to September 2020
2.     September 2020 to March 2021
3.     April to Sept 2021
4.     September 2021 to May 2022

Talking in trios and then as a whole group, the team members identified the significant events that occurred. We used an ORID Conversation #ORID (Objective, Reflective, Interpretive, Decisional) to debrief. The team recognized the journey or changes they had experienced over the 2½ years and said that each time block had a negative and positive storyline. Fear and hope existed.

Laughter and sighs: Remember the toilet paper hunt? The on and off mask mandates? The “pivot” word? The constant cleaning? The social isolation? Outside walking meetings?

The team then identified the lessons from the Covid Journey Wall and actions that they would continue. Two highlights were:

a) The innovative ways to provide services to clients and to meet and work as a staff. One size does not fit all. They will continue to meet in-person, online, and “hybrid” with each other and with clients.
b) The need to enhance mental health support for staff and clients.

It seems strange to be at a reflective stage about our Covid experiences. We are still journeying through the pandemic, yet can learn much from a debrief discussion. Thanks to Calgary John Howard Society for this opportunity.

If your organization is interested in a conversation about your Covid journey, please contact me.

Facilitating a journey through Covid: stories and lessons
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