A Lesson Learnt
Back in February this year, I had 2 separate conversations that served up the biggest portion of humble pie that I can remember throughout my career to date. The first was via text message from a colleague who asked if we needed to think about a business lockdown policy should this semi newsworthy virus from China enter our shores. The second was over dinner with one of my closest friends who informed me that he had spent his day shopping for emergency supplies which would be stored away just in case the worst happened. I genuinely thought that both individuals had lost the plot and laughed both in their faces and behind their backs. Fast forward a few weeks and my assessment of their perception and judgement had been replaced by inward panic, reactive instinct and the knowledge that I would never again be so dismissive and cocksure about things I didn’t really know or understand. Sorry boys (you know who you are!).
Being caught unaware would never be the position of choice but when thrown into a fight or flight situation as long as the former comes out on top, it can be the most intense educational journey that you can experience from a business perspective. I am sure that each business owner will have their own tale to tell and I should imagine that a recruitment business doesn’t necessarily have exclusivity on lessons learnt (but will try and win it!), but nevertheless here are some of ours:
- Be grateful for every client that respects what you do and empowers you to provide a service to them. There will always be those that expect everything and give nothing but that’s fine. Don’t let them get you down, thicken up that skin and focus your efforts on the ones that have given you the opportunity to impress.
- Never take business for granted and always ensure that you are providing value for money….. difficult in the current economic climate but if you are good at what you do this should always be achievable.
- It’s impossible to help everybody and yet never will there be so many requests to do so. If you are unable to provide the support someone is looking for, you can communicate this with empathy and respect, appreciating that each individual has their own specific backstory.
- Dig deep and lead your team from the front, holding as many hands as possible as you mount each hurdle together.
- When it does get quiet, park the panic and despondency and look to make introductions for the future and not just for an adrenalin filled quick win. There’s nothing more exciting than identifying a new potential client that you want to partner with and eventually realising that goal no matter how long it takes.
- Be so grateful for those employees that chose fight over flight and ensure where possible that you are always in tune with their thinking and state of mind.
- Find an outlet for your own emotions. Whilst in a second lockdown the options are few and far between, but for me, a last minute Harry Kane goal always does the trick.
News of a vaccine and a potential way out of this nightmare was always likely to lead to a period of reflection. That said, it is likely that we still have many more difficult months ahead of us and multiple mountains to climb. We will do it though and be better for the experience even though there will be a fair few scratches and scars to remind us of a journey that nobody could have predicted… well other than my two very perceptive friends.