Normal?! What is normal – this needs to be established before we can even start. Normal in a small, medium and micro enterprise (SMME) is the continuous fight for business by sending your sales team out on a daily basis. Normal is a rate of exchange that is stable. Normal is leaving your house in the morning to be on time at the office after battling traffic.
With all that said, what is the new normal that needs to be established? This is the challenge and the main question that is asked in all businesses, large and small: how to achieve the optimal balance between what was, what is and what is yet to come.
This launches a new journey for ExecuKit to the new normal, realising how important it is to rely on the team and teamwork involved. To utilise the strength of the team and to show vulnerability as leaders within the organisation, we need to realise how important open communication with our staff and colleagues is – even if we do not know the answers to the questions being raised. To learn how to say: “I don’t know but will come back to you,” and then actually going back and advising. The same needs to apply to our customers and suppliers as they more than likely have the same questions within their own internal teams as what is being raised from our own teams.
This involves ensuring the emotional health of the teams – to have daily check-in sessions as well as strategising on how to cope during these stressful times instead of just once a week or once a month. It means making the process fun and not sanitising because it is required but because we are willing to get our hands dirty.
It involves measuring temperatures not to be refused and sent home if we are over the set limit, but to show how hot and bothered we all are for being back at work and being able to provide for our families. To instil a methodology that all members are essential to the team and are valued and that if there is non-essential staff, they will no longer be part of the team during these trying times.
The new normal is having open discussions with your suppliers and customers regarding variations on the ROE, payment plans on stock already purchased pre-lockdown that could not move but still needs to be paid. Managing and relaying payment plans to ensure all parties survive and move product to ensure an income. Along with this, managing the stress factor and impact it has on one’s health and how to ensure trust if you cannot sit opposite the person looking into the person’s eyes and making a commitment.
In all this it’s about remembering that decision determines direction and direction determines destiny. We have a choice to ensure the success of our companies as well as the staff that is dependent on us to put food on the table. Even though it is hard now, this is where the world was heading. The crisis has just accelerated the process for us all to embrace the technology and enter the virtual business world.
The new normal means embracing a home-based office space as well as physical office address. For some this will mean reducing the footprint of the office space required as the trust and discipline builds within the team utilising said technologies available to us. To others, this might mean increasing the office space footprint to adjust to social distancing requirements within the facility.
So yes, it is the end for some in some instances, but it is the journey to the other side that makes it interesting and for ExecuKit, it keeps us strong and ready for the challenges ahead where the journey is as important as the final destination along with our fellow SMMEs, customers and suppliers.
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