<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1901736309897431&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Life as a Learning Lab: Never Waste a Crisis

“Never let a good crisis go to waste.” - Winston Churchill  

If you believe life is a learning lab, as I do, let’s agree that recent weeks have served up some weird science. When you add the COVID variable to our respective labs, learning is accelerated, intensified, and constant. And when everything we’re experiencing is new, then nothing is certain. Our existing beliefs are challenged, and we immediately become students of life. 

At Smart Savvy, we’ve had the opportunity to interact with some uber-bright leaders over the last 15 years. At day 45 of the COVID-19 pandemic, I reached out to a few of them to check in and hear what they’ve been learning.

I assembled a few questions on five key topics and invited them to share their video responses.  These are their stories. (That was for the Law and Order fans) 


1. Optimism

First up, bestselling author and the #1 thought leader on coaching,  Michael Bungay Stanier. He reflects on mindset, leading ourselves well, and optimism. Michael has been an incredible inspiration to me throughout this pandemic. He’s also a powerful daily presence for many through his #MyBestQuestion videos, and We Will Get Through This podcast. Optimism has been a big topic for many of us these days and MBS has an interesting perspective.   



Soundbites for scrollers:

  • “Although tactics don’t work for everyone, guiding principles can. Find the line between the dark and the light (which is different for all of us) and try to operate from that place.”  
  • “If I go too dark, I get too despairing, too frustrated, and too anxious. It drags me and those around me down. If I go too light, I can get too upbeat and optimistic, and then I get a bit tone-deaf for those around me.”  
  • Where’s the balance for you between the dark and the light? 

2. Owning Your Mindset

Next up Amanda Lee Smith, Partner at Monday Creative, Pete Smyth, CEO at iamota, Claire Booth, Founder and CEO at Lux Insights, and Hubert Wat, VP Marketing at Nature’s Path Organics speak to their mindset during crisis.



Soundbites for Scrollers

  • “My mindset? Scrappy, resourceful, and creative - seeing what nooks and crannies we can insert ourselves into to offer value and serve our clients.”  
  • “Brand is more important than ever. How can we emerge from this pandemic without losing our share of brand voice?”    
  • “We’re doubling down on our team and supporting our clients to help them to get through this.”  
  • “To have blind faith is the ultimate confidence (Kanye West) It means blind faith in myself, my team, and my community.”   
  • “We’re not just going to get through it, we’re going to get from it.”

3. Tips for Leading Others 

When it comes to leading others during this time here, are some great insights from Cameron Uganec, VP Marketing and Growth at Later, Sue Wigston, CEO at Givesome Foundation, Patty Jones President at DDB Canada, Amy Robichaud, Executive Director at Dress for Success Vancouver, and  Tom Gierasimczuk, VP Business Development and Chief Content Officer at Resonance Consultancy.   



Soundbites for Scrollers

  • “The importance of being an empathetic leader – consider the context in which your team is living – everyone is going through this in their own way.”  
  • “Check in and make sure everyone feels seen, heard, and understood. Help them know they are not in this alone.”  
  • “Share the truth, be transparent, and make it everyone’s business to solve problems.”  
  • “Lay the best foundation you can and let others build on it – don’t get in the way of their build.”  
  • “When you have a strong, trusting team built to take care of each other, there can be disruptions without derailment.”   
  • “Lead with compassion and over-communicate.”
  • Stop, collaborate and listen (Vanilla Ice) 

4. Sources of Hope

How do we find hope? This question struck a chord for the group and many of the leaders we interviewed weighed in. Some new voices in the mix: Kerri Buschel, Director, Experience Marketing and Insights at WorkSafeBC, Lawrie Ferguson, Founder and Chief Goodness Officer at Collective Good, and Jordan Eshpeter, Director Strategy at Invoke Digital. 



Soundbites for Scrollers

  • “We’re talking about what matters and how we can support each other.”  
  • “We’re collaborating and building on solutions that will help us get through barriers we never knew existed.”   
  • “We’re quickly adapting and showing up strong in the virtual space.”  
  • “Canadians are acting together and our leaders are stepping up – we’re flattening the curve.”  
  • “It will be amazing to see what comes of this from a social and technological perspective.”  
  • “People are amazing, adaptable problem solvers.” 

5. Top Takeaways

What can we take away from this experience? Where are the learnings? What can we carry forward?  Jacquie Loch, EVP, Customer Innovation at St. Joseph’s Media, Dan Howe, President, More Rewards at Save-On-Foods, and others join us for our closing thoughts. 



Soundbites for Scrollers

  • “People can be trusted; they are resilient and want to figure it out and thrive.”  
  • “We look after customers like they are our family.”  
  • “More patience, grace, and generosity for each other.”  
  • “Manage the stress of uncertainty.”  
  • “There are benefits to pausing and reflecting.”  
  • “Ask ourselves BIGGER questions.”  
  • “Kindness, calmness, ingenuity, and innovation helped us through this crisis and we should continue to use those same tools in our toolkits going forward.” 

Closing Thoughts 

As video clips started rolling in, I was immediately thankful for these voices. They inspired me, they challenged me, and I was reminded we’re all in this learning lab together. We can add value to the lives of those around us by sharing our experiences with our lab partners.    

  • What are your COVID learnings?  
  • How has your mindset been serving you throughout this critical time?   
  • How do you want to show up to your team, family, and community in the coming weeks?   
  • When it comes to leading yourself well, how are you doing? Where would you rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10? What’s one change you could make that would improve your rating?  
Remember you don’t have to go it alone. If you need the support of a community, consider joining ours. You can follow us on LinkedInInstagramFacebook, or Twitter. And you can stay connected to thought leaders by subscribing to our #GoodTalk Newsletter.   
Subscribe to #GoodTalk

Special Thanks

Thank you to all the leaders who shared their valuable time and insights with us. And thank you to the incredible and dedicated teams who help make these communities thrive: 

 Monday CreativeiamotaLux InsightsNatures Path OrganicsLaterGivesome FoundationDDB CanadaDress for Success VancouverResonance ConsultancyWorkSafeBC, Collective GoodInvoke DigitalSt. Josephs MediaSave-On-Foods.


Peter Reek | Founder and CEO

Peter Reek

CEO + Founder

Peter founded Smart Savvy as a response to a gap in the recruitment industry. As a leader, entrepreneur, and specialist in group moderation and facilitation, Peter brings an experienced, people-first perspective. He passionately believes that in work and life, People are the Plan™.


Smart Savvy Logo SquareSmart, Savvy + Associates are experts in helping marketing and communications leaders find people and develop teams that thrive and deliver inspiring results. As a people performance company, we specialize in finding marketing and communications talent. We also offer training programs for leaders and teams as well as options to become a certified coach or get coached.

Peter Reek

Build teams that thrive. Subscribe to our HotSheet today.