Dear <<First Name>>,

During these, sometimes very difficult, times we need to be mindful to support those who are just not coping. 

You can either watch the short video or read the article below. 
Leave No One Behind 

Growing up as a young, white boy in apartheid South Africa, I was forced by law to become a soldier and serve for two years in the army. It is not something I wanted to do. It was not within my gifts and talents; it was even against my nature. But I had to do it. It was the law.

We were plucked from the comforts and protection of our families, taken by train to army camps and entered a whole new world. The first three months, called basic training, was the most intense. We lived in uncertainty. We were constantly kept moving. We were screamed at constantly. We slept very little. 

I can probably write a book about my experiences and what I learnt, but three things stood out for me:
  1. You needed to learn to separate thoughts and feelings from getting the job done
    In order to survive, in order to be able to keep going forward, you quickly learnt that if you had a meltdown or showed weakness, the corporals would be on you like a pack of wolves. You would end up having to do more, and worse still, your whole group would have to do it with you, if you could not get you act together. Not only you would suffer more, but also all those around you. True grit was learnt during moments of desperation. 
  2. When a command came, you had to act immediately. There was no time to think about how you felt about it, or to argue or rebel. You just had to do it and do it with your mates. We later learnt that this is essential for survival during battle. Every second counted. We could all be killed if someone hesitated and an incoming projectile landed amongst us.
  3. It is not about the individual, it is about the group.
    You started learning to think about the survival of the group before yourself. We did everything together. The weakest in any situation would determine the performance of the group, so we would rally around that person. He may be in a meltdown at that time, may fight you to leave him alone, but we would simply get on with it and carry him if needed.

    Sometimes it would be you. Next time another one.

    No questions were asked. We simply did what was needed.

    No one was ever left behind.
I was reminded of this last week when a young CEO had a meltdown. He was totally fed up with everything COVID related, with the way industry is responding, with the way it is bringing uncertainly and loss all around. Here he is, responsible for a sizeable business and a big staff, and he was not in a good place. I was the recipient of the words.

My first, and negative, reaction was to leave him alone, but I could hear that he was really just in a tired, negative emotional state. He reminded me of myself when I was in the army and I had my meltdowns and my mates would not leave me alone. I asked him how I can help him, how we can take this forward in a positive way. Our conversation is not done yet. I am determined not to leave him behind!

Who is there is your team, or in your group, who look like they are taking strain right now? Perhaps someone has had a meltdown?

I want to urge you not to succumb to your first instinct, that of withdrawing from the person and not entering the difficult conversation.

Please stay with the person and have the conversation.

Let’s not leave anyone behind! COVID is difficult enough on our own, let’s help one another through this all.

I hope you found this helpful. More of the same can be found on or by following me on LinkedIn, FaceBook or YouTube.

Thank you. Until next week!

I’m grateful to have you in my life and remember: Leave no one behind!
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