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There is a meme doing the rounds, a simple image of text, arranged as a question with multiple-choice answers. It reads: “Who led the digital transformation of your company? A) CEO B) CTO or C) Covid-19.” Covid-19 is circled. Despite talk about digital readiness for decades, it took this novel coronavirus three months or so to completely change the world, prepared or not.

Knowledge workers, with the exception of those on the front line, are working from home wherever possible. Many firms have had to scramble, and many more to fundamentally rethink what productivity looks like when you’re judged on output and not proximity. If you’re a people manager inclined to clock watch and micromanage, you’re probably in a hell of your own making right now. We talk about the need for businesses to be agile, to respond quickly as conditions change, but this situation is proving the point that agility is a people thing as much as it is a systems thing...

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