Accepting What Is and Creating Your Future
Given all the unprecedented challenges businesses have been dealing with in the past two years, I support you and your organization in having a fantastic second half of 2022 instead of another six months of survival mode.
Given the Challenges such as rising fuel prices the supply chain, COVID-19, inflation and on and on, you ask, What the heck are you talking about? How can I have a fantastic second half with all that going on? Simply put, what if you and your organization chose to embrace the present and stopped resisting the past? I am inviting you not to resist what you are dealing with and simply engage in having a remarkable rest of the year.
An opportunity that I had during the pandemic is being able to see organizations and their various responses to the Pandemic. A case in point are three commercial Uniform laundry and delivery companies that reacted differently to the Pandemic. One thing about these companies, that even in a pandemic, people need their products delivered to their door. So, the plants ran, the trucks delivered, and the organizations functioned as best they could.
In the first example, the Leadership really took on COVID-19. This was led by the Owner/CEO. Even before the lockdown, they were researching and learning about COVID-19. Early on, when COVID-19 was just in Wuhan, one of their executives raised a flag of concern and the rest of the leadership group began to study what was happening. Once Lockdown occurred, they embraced the Pandemic. There was no denial or resistance. Of all the companies that I worked with, they were the most initiative-taking in securing a safe and functioning workplace. They took on having their company continue to run and deliver great service to their customers and to the greatest extent possible supply a safe, healthy work environment.
This company is in the middle of one of the largest American cities. COVID-19 was prevalent and surrounded them. Real time was spent communicating on Zoom and face to face. Real money was spent on air filtration systems. As knowledge was gathered on COVID-19, it was applied. The best ideas on how to social distance and use zones for bathroom coordination were studied and adopted.
There were challenges and definite hiccups. With that said, profitability improved. The scores from customers in their annual survey all were at their highest levels. Their sales force made their numbers, and they added several new accounts.
One thing that stood out is that the employees of this company were demonstrably appreciative of how the owner and the leaders went to every length to have a safe and healthy environment. The employees were appreciative of being able to work in a company that took on dealing with COVID-19 seriously and in the most initiative-taking and safest way possible. The leadership team supported employees as they dealt with their families and COVID. Even though some co-workers have left, retention has been high. Hiring has been challenging and workable. Interestingly, the frontline has remained stable.
The second example is of a company that was not as initiative-taking or fast moving as the first. They were dealing with COVID-19 circumstances and engaged. However, they were not as engaged as the first company. This company reacted to COVID-19. They did not embrace the challenge of COVID-19. There was resistance and confusion. They certainly muddled through.
This company is rurally found where COVID-19 was not as present. Money was not spent like in the first example. Communication did not happen, and the company got through COVID-19. Deliveries were always made, and the plant continued.
They did lose some customers, retention slipped, and sales decreased. Profits declined and the Sales Department had a tough time connecting with prospects and did not make its numbers. There was also higher than normal turnover. Given all that was going on, they did ok.
The third Company example is in an urban setting with COVID-19 present everywhere. They were not set up prior to the pandemic to work remotely and they struggled to get that set up. They struggled to get social distancing working, the offices safe and worked with protocols. There was resistance to dealing with COVID-19 and changing things. All the communication issues that were present before COVID-19 now occurred on steroids.
This company was hit by COVID-19 with many of the office staff getting it at the same time. I remember talking with one of the leadership group members from the hospital before he was put on a ventilator. The way COVID-19 ripped through the plant nearly prevented them from getting the trucks out and delivering. A competitor was called to see if they could cover for them and manage their deliveries.
Leadership tended to work at home and stay away. There was a big communication issue that occurred among the leadership team where executives threatened to quit. The GM, because of disastrous communication and what happened with direct reports was fired. Another top leader did not vaccinate and because of the state regulations, moved his family to Texas where he would work remotely. The CEO/Owner, after a traumatic and challenging two years, sold this company to a competitor.
Can you find your company in one of these three examples? What can you learn and apply from the above? I am supporting you in learning from the past, being present to right now, and complete with what has occurred.
The third quarter and beyond of 2022 is unwritten. However, the story of 2021 is written. It happened. Yet is it accepted and what does it mean to be accepted? Is the pandemic accepted? Is inflation accepted?
For many I say not. For many it seems as something wrong has happened, pandemic wrong, inflation wrong, fuel prices rising wrong. The incompletion and resistance as to what has happened before has you ensnarled… shackling you with a lack of freedom and power.
The rest of this year is unwritten. Every day is unwritten. While I can theoretically understand this, it is hard to live. What is it like to live your circumstances newly and to bring possibility to them? To hold them up to inspect, to look at them from a different frame, a unique perspective. What allows you to do that? Where does acceptance fit in? Where does creating and embracing fit in?
What if it is always possible to be engaged in a positive way? What if it is always positive to create anew if you are not resisting what is happening? Carl Jung said, “What you resist persists”. I find this idea to be useful in helping me see where I am stuck.
Part of resistance is a notion that whatever is happening should not be. Resistance, rather than embracing what is, gets in the way of acceptance and again, for me, stops any notion of being free to take new creative actions.
From the examples that I have presented of the three organizations and their differing responses to COVID-19 and other challenges, I think the power of choosing and embracing what you are dealing with is clear. You can see how resistance and just muddling through can be disempowering and produces subpar results.
Choosing it the way it is, is an action that allows for being present and for new possibilities. Then acceptance allows for lessons from the past to be learned, the past to be in the past and for new actions to be taken. I am complete with COVID-19 and the many challenges of the last two years. I am choosing to embrace the rest of 2022 exactly the way it is. From here, I am engaged in having a fantastic year.
I invite you to do the same from that place of acceptance and choosing to engage in having a fantastic rest of the year. I ask that you get your organizations to be accepting of whatever happened over the last two years, and from there create a powerful future to live into. Let us know how it goes and what you and your organizations are creating.
About the Author
Bruce Hodes, President and Founder of CMI, is dedicated to helping companies grow. The focus of his work is developing work teams, business leaders and executives into powerful performers. Bruce has an MBA from Northwestern University and a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work.
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