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Reward the transition, not the destination

International Aid work requires you to work in two modes – business as usual mode; this is all about advocating for others and ensuring the work on the ground continues to develop the communities receiving project funds.

The second mode is when disaster hits (and it usually does somewhere, somehow).

In one organisation I worked for, the staff were trained to be productive in both BAU, as well as in Disaster Response Mode.

They weren't (additionally) rewarded for being in either destination, they were recognised and rewarded for their efforts of transitioning between the two.

Well done to you for transitioning from workplace to remote working. Well done for making remote working – work (as best as some of us have been able to!)

I think we are in for a trickier time in this next transition. It's not as simple as 'reverse engineering' the Transition to Remote Working Plan.

We mostly know the destination goal and our desire to ensure people have 'soft landings' into their workplaces. We know this will happen because there are some very smart people already planning for the various scenarios. What we don't really know is the social and emotional impact on our people during and post-transition.

While my title challenges you to 'reward' transition, this is not about monetary rewards, my intention is to have you shift the acknowledgements, shout-outs, and hero stories to focus on how people behave during the transition as much, if not more than just landing at the destination goal.

In my previous blog, "Congratulations, you are now the CEO", I implored you to work on culture as soon as you got your remote working logistics sorted.

My reason for this was the fear of having a whole bunch of "mini CEO's" running around making independent decisions, once people were back in their workplaces.

The article stated that "if your culture and purpose is not deeply embedded and maintained in your staff while each of them is being the CEO of their own spaces, you may find yourself on a bumpy road when everyone reintegrates into the corporate spaces again."

Here are some things you might consider:

  • Conduct transition surveys that begin to review, prompt and measure culture, values and behaviours.

  • In addition to this, through survey's, team meetings and one on ones, measure anticipation and possible fear about returning to the workplace.

  • Ensure your transition (logistics) team have people who will look out to acknowledge and reward (financially and non-financially) those staff who display the culture and values.

  • Measure and monitor bravery from individual stories of courage to stories where people and teams have supported one another.

  • Don't forget your stakeholder organisations and your customers – thank them for their loyalty and support of you through not one, but two transitions.

So what do you do once everyone is at the destination? You have a great big party!

If you want some help with your transition planning, please head to the contact page and I'll respond to you quickly.


Arrow - Photo Credit: Nik - Freelance Designer at

Photo Credit: Anna Kucera


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