Consolidating the advantage means taking what you learned and making it a permanent part of how you operate. Making these new learning experiences permanent – many of which we might never have uncovered otherwise – we can take our decisions made in the middle of disruptions and use those that worked well to power future growth.

In recent workshops, we asked candidates to identify successes they’ve had over the last six months. From listening to more than 50 next leaders, we found three tools that are sure to make them (and you!) more successful long after our current threats have passed.

One-on-one discussions

A consistent theme amongst next leaders is that they have individually engaged their team around them – bosses, peers, and direct reports alike. Regular, direct interactions have helped build trust, keep tabs on progress, and maintain a sense of connection despite their separation. Many next leaders admitted that they struggled to prioritize one-on-ones in the past, but now see the value and will carry them into the rest of their careers.

More productive meetings

Moving to online meetings has created a new sense of discipline around meeting basics, like having agendas and action items, shortening meeting times, and ensuring that the right people are participating. A representative of the consensus, one next leader said, “I am having more meetings, but they’re shorter and more effective, which leaves me enough time to do my job.” Most agreed that structured meetings with clear discussion points and outcomes would stay the norm.

Energy management

While we might have started “working from home,” our adaptations have us decidedly “living from work.” The blurred lines between personal and professional life have taken a toll. Overwhelmingly, next leaders talked about finding “pockets of sanity” to help manage the stress of what can feel like 24 /7 work. From exercise to cooking, spending time with family, or taking on a new hobby, next leaders have found their way to maintain their energy and keep their teams moving forward.

One last note – what might be most intriguing about these tools is that we always had them and knew they worked. Since inertia is a powerful force, we avoid making changes, even ones that could profoundly impact our effectiveness. With the “hard reset” that the pandemic has created, what advantages will you be consolidating?