I recently heard a wise man say, “What makes life precious is that it ends.” It got me thinking about some of the things in my life that have ended that I could have appreciated more.
For 28 years I ran my retail business. There were people and features about that business that, in hindsight, I should have appreciated more.
We all have lost friends or family who we cherish even more since they’re no longer with us.
Perhaps we’ve had jobs, money, friendships, pets or even spare time that we thought were burdensome. Yet now that they’ve vanished, they linger as treasured memories. In our busyness, we didn’t take the time to value them then.
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The last few months have changed our lives.
As I was working on the road with clients last week, I was made to realize that there were aspects of business that we’re taking for granted. The simple handshake, a pat on the back or a hug – whose value has been underestimated in the business environment – take on new meaning when we can’t engage in them.
Virtual meetings have become part of the fabric of our society. And while I’ve been using them for years with clients across the country and around the world, they don’t truly replace face-to-face meetings. There’s so much that can be gained by being physically present with people that we miss in our Skyped or Zoomed work spaces.
Yes, there are benefits to working from home, including enhanced efficiencies and reduced expenses. But in many cases, there’s also lost production and more stress.
More than ever, I see business owners and leaders with school-aged children popping into the background of our virtual meetings. Women and men who are leaders seem to be trying to balance business and work, home-schooling, making lunch and cleaning the house while continuing to get results, manage employees and retain their sanity. I hear them say how much they appreciated going into the office or sending their kids off to school.
Employees should also be appreciating what they have right now. In 12 to 18 months, good-paying jobs are going to be harder to come by. Once the full economic impact of the COVID-19 lockdowns filter through society, and the government stimulus programs have run out, we’ll be left with businesses gasping for cash flow, and governments cutting expenses and raising taxes to make ends meet.
Organizations are going to need to make tough decisions about where to cut. Labour costs are the largest expense for most establishments, so those making decisions are only going to keep people who are delivering results to create a future for the organization.
Working from home may create a lack of accountability that benefits the lifestyle of some employees now. But the future of their job may be in jeopardy if they’re not creating value for the business.
The current climate of change requires that we plan ahead to ensure our survival. Ninety-day plans should be common in every work environment to engage employees, have clarity about what you need to do in this fluid situation, and keep everyone accountable for achieving positive results. (Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like a template on how to do a 90-day plan with your team.)
Many of us didn’t appreciate normalcy while we had it and that normalcy is now precious because it has ended. What should you be appreciating right now that might be taken from you in the next months or years?
Take some time today to cherish what you have and to be thankful for those opportunities you’ve been given.
David Fuller, MBA, is a certified professional business coach and author who helps business leaders ensure that their companies are successful. David is author of the book Profit Yourself Healthy.
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