Managing the Scatter

Updated: Jan 26

How leaders can engage both ends of the unfolding continuum emerging within corporations, and all that falls somewhere in between.

Remember the movie The Lion King? It’s hard to forget the scene when Scar, the evil uncle, takes tiny Simba into a ravine, puts him on a rock and encourages him to practice his roar. Behind the scenes, Scar has plotted with the hyenas to instigate a herd of wildebeest to stampede into the ravine, bringing his nephew and heir to the throne to a swift end. Climbing a tree as the herd thunders by, Simba survives. Once free of the confines of the ravine, the herd scatters. While some wildebeest race straight forward, others fan out in all directions on the plain. Some even head back into the ravine.

COVID-19 has been our hyena, forcing us all into the ravine of working online. And like the

wildebeest, we are emerging from the other side of the virus and we are scattering!

Some want things to go back to just the way they were; others see a bold, new frontier and

new ways of working. Some love online meetings, finding them more productive while some hate them and find it hard to pay attention.

Some feel closer to our colleagues as we see more of who they on their screens, while others

dread turning on our cameras.

Some of us are more productive working from our homes while others find it impossible to concentrate with all the distractions.

Some find setting boundaries around their time easier, and some find it hard to know when to stop working.

How do we engage people at both ends of these continuums, and all the others who fall somewhere in between?

Consider these intentions as you plan your approach to unifying your team:

  • Minimize fear. Acknowledge the vulnerability that is present with all of us and create a sense of safety that allows openness and participation.

  • Be curious. Investigate what’s happening around you. It’s easy to make assumptions about why people are moving in the direction they are. Take the time to ask questions and find out the truth.

  • Seek to understand. Engage with empathy. Talk about the hard things, the rough spots. Where work and home lives collide, be clear about the structure and expectations of the job while finding ways to negotiate the obstacles to success.

  • Articulate the current state and the desired state. Galvanize people around shared values and a clear vision. Create a connection to future success for each person, each team and the whole organization. There is meaning in the longer journey.

Each of these steps invites the group to sense, then to look and finally to move in the same


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