Over the last couple of months, I’ve often found myself saying more and more that the world will never be the same again.
This past week I learnt in various ways just how much things have already changed.
Chatting to some young people whose jobs have been severely impacted by COVID was truly illuminating.
After going through lockdown and the various levels of the pandemic it now appears that Business, especially in Tourism is unlikely to recover to any significant levels for the foreseeable future. Having no guarantee of income, cutting back on expenses, pivoting Markets and looking for any way of being more economic has led to agonising decisions that business owners have had to make. Some of these have included which staff to keep and who to let go. Nobody should have to make these heart-breaking choices especially when you understand the impact this will have on their families with no hope of things changing any time soon.
These decisions have been made in various types of businesses as everyone is trying to stay afloat in a world where nobody truly knows what is going to happen. As I’m observing operations within these businesses an interesting thing seems to be happening.
The last few months have been tough on everyone and you can see the strain around the smiling eyes above the masks. You know that each one is carrying a burden and yet there is a sense of strength, deeper awareness and purpose in the air. Those staff members that have remained, although different in personality show similarities in attitude and aptitude. They are working together as a team, each understanding that the work needs to get done and because there are fewer of them everyone has to stand up and take responsibility.
I hear stories of staff members pitching up for work with no hope of salaries but the idea of helping their bosses getting the business back into shape to welcome clients after lockdown.
I see how Receptionists walk past and notice that the waiters are busy and without stopping grabbing menus to welcome the new guests that have just arrived and showing them to a table.
I see how senior kitchen staff make an effort to check with patrons to ensure their food is perfect or to sort out an issue personally.
I see back office staff answering phones while the Receptionists are busy checking in guests.
Suddenly that hated saying: “it’s not my job” has no space in this new world.
In this new world you will need to be flexible, agile, hardworking, smart, innovative, caring, supportive and above all else a team player.
With Jobs more at risk than ever you need to stand out above the rest.
Right, I hear you say, just what I need … more performance anxiety, less sleep and more pressure.
I say definitely NOT!
Now, like never before we need to take the time to understand each other both from the top down and the bottom up.
As an employee you need to make sure you are in a job that you love or that is working your way to your dream. You spend a lot of time at work and you owe it to yourself that you understand what you want. Take time to reflect, learn and understand yourself. Make every effort to put yourself in a space where your own values and ethics are developed, defined, or even redefined. Learn skills in an environment where you are able to grow through challenges, where you learn but are also heard, where you are appreciative but also appreciated. A job where, yes, you work hard but that doesn’t consume you so that you don’t have time for family, friends and most importantly, yourself.
As an Employer you need to challenge your staff, demand the best from them, but also understand that their jobs do not define them. They are husbands, wives, fathers, mothers and children first. People with dreams and hope for themselves and their families. That if you support them as people, help them grow and actively engaging their inputs into this new process, where they can take responsibility for their jobs and truly become part of a team, this will give you the X factor that might very well help your company survive these tidal waves that keeps hitting us.
Sadly, there are very few companies or organisations that get this right. Even in the past we were slammed with red tape, inflexible corporate culture, bad attitude and very often creatively blocked by gatekeepers with their own agendas.
To those stuck in the old ways, who are not willing to learn from someone who has the ability to adapt and even thrive in this new world I would like to say this:
If you continue to obstruct, demolish and ignore these innovative thinkers they will simply move around you. They will find the solutions without you and while you might be able to ride that wave flowing around you for a bit you will eventually be left behind. The world will demand this new way from all of us.
We are in the middle of a Renaissance. Be inquisitive, enquiring, watch, and listen. Learn from anyone you can whether old or young, from your own people or someone you’ve got nothing in common with, everyone has something to teach us.
Be kind to yourself. Be mindful of the lessons you yourself have learnt these last few months. If each one of us are stronger in ourselves, together we will be phenomenal.