Right now, as I write this article, we have no idea when the COVID‑19 pandemic will cease its upheaval on us. With Victoria currently in its second wave of lockdowns, and borders opening and then closing like prison cell doors, it is a mystery when things will get back to some form of normality. And that, of course, begs the question, what will the new norm be?
I have been speaking with a number of my clients about their take on the situation and future outlook. Apart from a set of expletives that cannot be published, I am getting a resounding, “We have no idea where we are heading.” Given that, I thought discussing the topic of ‘resilience’ might be a subject that will resonate not only with our industry leaders but also our teams as we look at re‑building confidence, attitude and a generally optimistic view.
Resilience can mean many things to many people. According to the Oxford dictionary, resilience is defined as ‘our capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.’ For me, I think resilience is a way of life, not just a short‑term frame of mind. It is the way we approach the challenges that day to day life throws at us, and COVID‑19 is currently one of many challenges that we all need to work through or overcome and will be faced with in the future.
Often in difficult times, we focus on the short term and can get caught in the cycle of yesterday, today and tomorrow; often abandoning the long term strategic thinking we need to maintain a positive and optimistic view of our respective worlds.
So, what are some tools that can help you and your team remain upbeat and eager to face the challenges of each day?
1. BUILD AND MAINTAIN TRUST
Often during times of uncertainty, people will start to have negative thoughts about the future because they are not entirely in control of their destination. In my view, being open,
honest and understanding and telling it as it is, not the way you want it to be, will serve you well. Trust has no value in isolation but will represent great value when used during interactions with others, such as customers, suppliers, employees, and your direct team members. Likewise, trust is built on relationships where a genuine give‑andtake approach will provide mutual value. Trust is gradually and incrementally built and, when invested in wisely, will deliver great rewards. But be careful, trust can also be lost in a matter of seconds or from one bad decision.
2. FOCUS – CAN YOU INFLUENCE THAT OUTCOME?
Another tool to build resilience is to focus on what you can control and leave behind what you cannot. Too many of us worry about things that we have no way of changing and yet we run around wasting time, energy and money only to be disappointed. As an exercise, when faced with a situation that needs your attention, make a list of the things you can directly influence and a list of the items you cannot. Keep both lists and action the ones you can on your direct influence list, whilst using the other to keep you focused on positive outcomes.
3. ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING
Your attitude is everything ‑ the way you approach situations, customers, team members and life in general will determine who you are. Who knows someone in their business that is always looking at things from a negative ‘cannot do’ perspective rather than a positive ‘make it happen’ perspective? I am sure that everyone reading this article has, at some stage, had a time in their life that has challenged their resilience and had their attitude bruised. It is the people who demonstrate a resilient mindset; set clear and measurable goals; that have a razor sharp focus. As Anne Grady details in her book, ‘Mind Over Moment’, you need to ‘swim to your lighthouse’ (your immovable, non‑negotiable target) so that whatever life throws at you, you still have a focus on the end goal.
4. PLAN YOUR FUTURE
Over the last three to four months, I have had many discussions on planning (or the lack of planning). Companies don’t know what to expect so they have taken a contingent, reactive approach until they get a better picture of their future. This position is not something that I would support. The companies that I work with that have a strategic and deliberate business plan seem to be delivering outstanding results, even in these challenging times. They also employ a philosophy of engagement and inclusion and make sure that all stakeholders in the business are fully informed and understand not only the strategy, but more importantly, why it needs to be executed.
5. EXECUTION – JUST DO IT!
And finally, just get on with it! Make mistakes, learn, and keep going. Do not procrastinate or be too afraid to take a chance. Be determined that you, your team or business will be successful. At times, it will be bitter determination that will get you through; others will see what you are doing, admire you for it and follow your lead. In a book that I am currently reading called ‘SAS Great Escapes’, it was often pure determination coupled with a good plan that allowed thousands of SAS prisoner of war soldiers to endure their capture and eventually escape. For anyone thinking that I am comparing COVID‑19 to prisoners of war, I am not. Sometimes, you need that type of determination to be successful.