“At the beginning of this crisis, I reflected on our organisational values which focus on respect, excellence, innovation, integrity and empowerment. I have always wanted these to be more than words on a wall and be something we as an organisation, and as a team, live and work by.
“Our values are a shared language – something we use across the whole team in a variety of circumstances. It’s weaved into our operational practices.
“But, in these extraordinary circumstances how would these values be challenged in our internal and external relationships? How would our team cope with this major upheaval to their working and home lives? How would our investments have to adapt and change?
“Despite being apart, we are now closer as a team. The explicit effort to check in on one another, personally and professionally, is something that has been a natural reaction throughout the team.
“As The Wood Foundation has developed and grown, we have fostered an environment of personal and mutual respect, transparency and trust. This organisational culture has shone during this crisis, with people who have shown innovation and commitment to be bold and to challenge.
“The personal element is really important here. It’s important for me to be able to show and accept vulnerability. I don’t need to be eternally steadfast to be consistently present. This is a two-way street, an invitation for my team to be honest. The pressure of the personal always has a bearing on the professional. This has never been more acute than now.
“The loyalty shown to the organisation, our investments and to the values established by our Chairman has been exemplary. This loyalty, again, is a two-way street. There is no culture of ‘clock watching’ and, as an employer, we take our responsibility to health and wellbeing seriously.
“Early on in lockdown, I decided to send an email at the end of the day to the full team reflecting on my day, the good and the bad, and the progress for us as an organisation. I would always say goodbye leaving the office, signalling the end of the day. This is a way of drawing a line under the working day remotely.
“These are extraordinary circumstances and progress, personal and professional, is not linear. Managing personal challenge must be prioritised in order to retain professional output and satisfaction.
“The world as we know it has changed and whatever our ‘new normal’ looks like, something I am confident of is the strength of our team.
“We will take lessons from this time into the future – enhanced collaboration, breaking down of perceived silos, the avoidance of assumptions, increased recognition of roles and activities. Our communications have sharpened and there is an increased clarity of direction and requirements. We are more intentional.
“I look forward to our team being physically together once again and we can build upon what we have learned about ourselves, each other and our organisation throughout this extraordinary period.”