Dealing with continuous change

We have read and heard it in many media articles – The world as we knew it before the lockdown and the world after the lockdown ended, will be two different worlds. We have seen and experienced some of these changes already, which implies that the way we do business will have to change to remain relevant.

Looking at what is currently happening we can comfortably predict that most businesses will move to do more business online, have more employees working from home or having the option to work part of their workweek from home.

It will hopefully result in some benefits like fewer cars on the roads, fewer traffic jams and less air pollution. It might mean that companies may need less office space, parking space, lower electricity consumption etc. The way companies measure performance and productivity of employees need to change, how we lead, manage and collaborate with our teams will need to be reconsidered. Team dynamics will not remain unaffected, consider the social impact due to only seeing the rest of your team on a screen or only a couple of times in person. Even when at the office will we have to rethink our interaction due to social distancing rules. All these changes will affect employees and how they interact.

Down-stream businesses need to consider how they may be impacted as a result of these upstream changes? These can be mechanics, office cleaners, canteens, and restaurants, etc.

Some scenarios to consider the effects may be: Thinking of mechanics, they may have fewer cars to service at less frequent intervals because of reduced travel. Canteens/restaurants may have fewer people to serve daily, and office cleaning companies may have less space to clean less frequently. Hairdressers and salons may have fewer people coming through the door. These are only a couple of examples, and there are many more.

Although some individuals are buying products and services online, many more will most probably do so in future. Does it imply that everything needs to be on a menu ready to select? How will businesses that customise their offering with every purchase be affected? Think of your butcher – How will the client be able to choose the prime cut of meat they want for a specific occasion?

One thing is clear the rules of doing business has changed and are continuously evolving. If any company wants to survive, they need to become comfortable with a constantly changing and uncertain future.

Both companies and individuals working for them are being impacted. Our personal and professional lives are suddenly overlapping with the boundaries being blurred, as a result of working at home. It is not so strange for a child to suddenly enter a business meeting.

On the positive side, extreme circumstances create new opportunities. Just think of the surge to-the-home delivery services, mask-making and hand sanitisers, etc.

As business owners, we need to spend time working on our businesses, preparing how to deal with the ever-changing and uncertain future.

It is quite easy to get overwhelmed by all the changes, all the uncertainty and the overload of data presented to us daily, resulting in overthinking things and procrastination.

A first step is to focus and to gain perspective on the situation.

You need to be clear on the purpose of your business – Why does your business exist? Is it essential to spend energy and time on all things?

Next, we need to take control and focus on the right things. The Eisenhower matrix can assist us in prioritising and regaining focus.


Eisenhower 2

The Eisenhower matrix help to prioritising work:

Eisenhower 1

How to use the matrix:
The process to prioritise work is as follows:
1. Consider what you want to achieve as the outcome or why your company exist (its purpose), and write it down.
2. Take a list and write down all your worries, tasks, to-dos, challenges and plans. Then group them into what is “In your control” and what is “Outside your control”.
3. Now move each of the items from 2. which are “In your control” to one of the following categories:
1. Do it
2. Schedule it
3. Delegate or automate it
4. Delete it

Source: Eisenhower matrix adapted by Esterhuizen Coaching and Consulting
Next time we will focus on how to manage continuous change…
Till next time.

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