Planning, Planning, Planning was the mantra drummed into me throughout my military career which, to be fair, has been a great discipline that I took through to my civilian life in business. However, who could have predicted the position we now find ourselves in as the country faces an unprecedented situation that seems to be developing by the hour; I’m both addicted to the news and fed-up with it at the same time.
So, at the beginning of the week back at the Caja office we pushed the big green button on our Business Continuity Plans and tried to understand how we can play our small part in keeping the economy going; supporting our clients and looking after our staff (I knew that planning would come in handy!!).
So much to think about – will we still have access to our office on the Keele University campus? Is all our technology up and running and in place? Are all our team feeling fit and well? What can we do to help our amazing clients keep going? Cash-flow? Etc…..etc; the list seemed endless. However, as we approach the tail end of the week what strikes me is that we are having to take some of our own advice – ‘be prepared to change, adapt and overcome problems’, we talk to our clients about this all the time (I still think a plan helps you get started).
It’s been amazing throughout all of this week watching my colleagues rapidly experience the ‘Change Curve’ in only a few days:
- Denial – Only 10 days ago it seemed like business as usual and the effects of the virus seemed so far away and our clients were still largely operating as normal;
- Confusion – This kicked-in only 4 or 5 days ago as the government ramped up its response and measures to protect us all. What does this mean to us and our clients? (By this point we were actually reaching for that plan I knew would come in handy!!).
- Keep Calm & Adapt kicked-in as we started to put in place new working arrangements for ourselves and tried to ensure we were protecting our teams as far as possible; one colleague said to me – ‘I’m loving this hang-outs thing’ (with reference to Google Hang-outs). We started talking to our clients about what we could feasibly still do to support them, but more importantly ask them ‘how can we help?’; this wasn’t a sales question it was a genuine desire to do the right thing and the response has been great.
Back to the Change Curve:
- Renewal & Experimentation – We are now starting to feel quite positive as we seem to be adapting really quickly. We are experimenting with different technologies and ways of communicating, we are offering each other support and help more readily (We may even come out of this stronger as a team than when it started and it was great already).
- Business as Usual – Only time will tell what this really looks like as we are all in unfamiliar territory and there is no doubt still weeks of uncertainty ahead. Whatever the future looks like there are reasons to remain positive, support each-other and sustain the businesses we’ve built (we are definitely in this together)
As I sign-off it’s time for another ‘on-line hangout’ but I’ll leave you with my learning from the last few days. Stay Calm & Adapt, it’s amazing how people step-upto the challenge. More importantly offer help to those friends and colleagues that are struggling; a little act of kindness or word of encouragement goes a long way.
In the meantime, I will ration my exposure to the news and social media, maybe read a book or learn a new skill and make the best of ‘social distancing’ it’s certainly here for the next few weeks.