Keep ‘CALM’- not just carry on business as usual

Dr Lauren Vargas
4 min readMar 20, 2020

When I started discussing and writing about the outcomes of my recently completed (February 2020) One by One research (building digitally confident museums), the acronym ‘CALM’ surfaced. It was a bit tongue-and-cheek because I was designing and implementing digital transformation and skill-building interventions in UK museums where a ‘Keep calm and carry on’ attitude prevail. Digital transformation or digital evolution is overwhelming and most organizations are furiously trying to simply maintain what they have and are doing today. There is no sense of calm about how digital activities are being designed, implemented, and maintained.

Now we compound that frustration and chaotic experience with a global issue out of our control. Many of us are working from home…and wondering if we will have a job or an organization to return to. For many, working from home is new. Compound this learning curve with having to care for kids out of school or elderly or sick relatives and we are far from achieving a sense of calm. When we feel out of control, it is easy to spiral into a dark abyss of depression and become paralyzed.

How might we begin to reimagine a new way of working? How might we develop a digital-first environment within our organizations that is:

  • C — Collaborative: engaging openly and transparently with other staff to plan and develop (internal or external) work products.
  • A — Anticipatory: planning effectively using agile methods, being aware of relevant data (through analysis and reporting) and building in a process for feedback.
  • L Letting go of Command and Control Leadership and Embracing Collective Leadership: locating and enabling leaders at all levels whilst developing a shared sense of decision-making and accountability.
  • M — Mindful: making time and space to reflect on information and decisions.

No matter when and where we return after Covid-19 self-isolation, our organizations will not be the same. It is impossible to force people to interact on digital with peers and management in the same way they may have been interacting in a physical office. Digital citizenship is built and learned and adapted over time. If organizations have not put in the scaffolding to encourage and coach a…

Dr Lauren Vargas

Digital Dragon Wrangler | Independent Researcher and Consultant