The weather is just starting to warm up properly here and the kids are outside every day in their new paddling pool. They’ve never had it so good! The pool they had last summer fell victim to the neighbour’s cat. Old Sharp Claws. It was a sad end to the season! Unfortunately, not a sad end for the cat (only joking).
It’s funny how seasons change. Also funny how you recognise the signs before the change occurs! Here, we get swallows sitting on the wires, chirping away throughout the summer months and then one day, all of a sudden, they are gone. Then the temperature drops and summer is gone too.
Personally, my favourite season is autumn. I just love the colour of the trees changing and the crisp sunny days. Having said that though, there’s something to enjoy in every season.
Every year, each season also reminds me of other things that have happened. Negative things. In the middle of winter, many years ago, I was locked out of my friend’s house and too scared to wake anyone up so I slept in a phone box in sub-zero temperatures. That January, a friend I worked with crashed into a telegraph pole and died instantly. There were many summers I shared with my brothers growing up when we were the only ones that didn’t go abroad on holiday. And then there was the autumn when I got injured in the first few weeks of the season and I missed a whole season of playing the game I loved.
Negative or Positive?
It seems to me that I always have an opportunity in every season to either dwell on the positive or the negative. There’s always good and bad, and we need to look for the good.
Like the COVID season we are coming out of and the changes it has brought about. The biggest shift we have seen over COVID has been people’s working habits. Employers could choose to see this as a good thing or a bad thing. In fact, Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, announced this week that he wanted his staff to be on site four days a week. The staff came back with a resounding ‘No!’ I guess anyone who’d spent 1 billion dollars on a new HQ would certainly want it to be used by their own staff. Tim Cook is now faced with a dilemma. Does he fire the whole staff and hire new people? In reality, he already has the brightest tech minds in the business and the last thing he would want is them jumping over Silicon Valley to work with Google or Facebook.
Our brand marketing agency, Cre8ion, has now been running a four day work week for two years. And, before the pandemic hit we had put in the infrastructure to ensure that our people could work remotely. Now, some of the team prefer to work in the office and some from home. We realise that we need to take their preferences into account in order for them to do their best work. So, it has been a good thing.
People’s buying habits have also changed as a result of their working habits changing. City centre, retail outlets, for example, have lost the footfall that they once had during the working week. If you are a food company or a fashion outlet, not having an e-commerce solution is suicidal.
So, as with anything, in the wake of all these changes there is great opportunity — a good thing! For instance, any company that invests in a strong e-commerce solution can gain significant reach that they did not have before.
Even the way we shop has changed. A friend of mine recommended ‘Hello Fresh’ to me. It has enabled us to order our main meals which come with recipes that our children can cook. This means that we can focus on the other tasks which we struggle to get done. The other great thing about this product is that there is very little food waste. Added to that, the recipes are super tasty and now our kids have become spicy chefs!
Ask yourself the question, how has your target audience changed in their buying habits? And what could you do as a business to support that change? If you are in education have you thought about a low level entry product around online learning? Or if you are already doing online training to individuals, is there a way that you could flip the model to ‘one to many’? This is how our Facebook challenge model was launched. We got 500 crafters in a room and taught them how to pivot their businesses online from being high street or home based. Craft Insurance told us that this was their best ever marketing spend as a company, ever.
So there’s opportunity in what could be considered a bad season and good can come out of bad. I remember the year 2000 being a shockingly bad year for me and yet, right at the end of it, came a twist. I met my future wife!
2007 was another time like that. Our firstborn arrived in May of that year which was amazing. Shortly after, organisational changes within the charity we were a part of nearly put us out of operation before we even got traction.
Then in 2020, a pandemic. In the midst of general panic, our networking friends commissioned us to build their website. That network ensured that we thrived.
In order to focus on the positive and not forget the wins we’ve had along our journey, one of the things I’ve been encouraged to do is a ‘wins register’. The benefit of a wins register is that it will encourage you even in the darkest of times. You’ll be reminded that one day things will turn around.
So, what does a wins register look like? Well, here’s my take on it…
W Write down the win:
Record it with the date.
I Inventory of oneself:
Record your emotions, this is key.
N Now what lesson have you learned:
This makes you feel good
S Success should be celebrated:
Mark the occasion in a positive way
Over time, you will begin to see patterns of performance and learn to replicate them for the future. These patterns will help you when faced with short-term challenges. Take note of your win patterns and build your own particular formula for yourself. Patterns produce prime performance.
If you would like to know more about overcoming challenges in business and in life why not pre-order my book ‘Crisis the Catalyst for Change’ at a reduced price.