It’s safe to say that this role has been a tricky one. Going into our first lockdown in March 2020, I had only been in the job 4 months, and I was thrust into business saving mode, assessing every cost and cutting out what we could, (no matter how minor), requesting discounts where we could get them and really digging into our way of working to find the efficiencies. I’ve written about this before in earlier blogs, (Swapping ‘Scared’ For ‘Exhilarated’ – A Personal Story and Pandemic Silver Linings).
Fast forward to Sept 2021 and a lot of hard work had gone into a partial financial recovery, recruiting new team members, leaving our office premises, and forging ahead even in the face of a second lockdown and more weeks/months of reduced revenue. But we were still ok…we had the right people on the bus, we could balance things better this time around and we had a higher level of confidence.
Then something happens that just knocks you for six and you say to yourself…WTF? Were a few months of ‘smooth sailing’ too much to ask for? A little bit of breathing room? That whiplash-feeling as you suddenly swing around and face what you think will be impending disaster is sickening and painful. I just wanted a few weeks where there were no ‘fun’ surprises in my week. Please and thank you.
Truth be told, this job is never straightforward. It’s a tussle between the expected and the unexpected, swinging between the wins and the losses, and finding the solutions to make sure everyone feels safe, useful, and inspired. The more I do it, the more confident I am that I am able to overcome each test as they arise. I have more tools in my toolbox and I am surer of my steps. I sometimes wonder though…what happens when the next test arrives, and what if I can’t rise to the challenge? What if I am spent? What if my mojo gets up and leaves?
That happened this week. I just wanted to run screaming for the hills and stick my head in a vat of Cosmopolitan cocktails and get under a weighted blanket. I really REALLY did not want to have to deal with this ‘thing’ or anything really. I had just started to get on top of some large projects that had been on the back burner for so long they were in danger of turning to charcoal. I was smack bang in the middle of training and mentoring a new team member, remotely, in lockdown and whilst we both managed home-schooling! All I wanted was a few weeks of effortlessness and a chance to shorten my ‘to do’ list.
When it comes to dealing with defeat, disappointment and challenges, I do have a bit of a ‘modus operandi’, and that is to jump right in and find out exactly what’s involved…how hard will it be, what exactly needs to be done, and who needs to fill the gaps? Arming myself with accurate information means that I can all sleep at night and spend less time wallowing in ‘what if’-land or ‘bloody hell what now’- land. We can’t afford to drop any balls. Our clients rely on us, and our team rely on me.
Not surprisingly, the ‘thing’ that I had to fix was not nearly as bad as my first reaction suggested. Even better, all the lessons we have learned over the last 18 months and the changes to our BAU meant that the solution was easy to see, smooth to implement and was done and dusted in 24 hours. Immediate action was key to getting this issue resolved seamlessly and with little disruption. Our clients trust us to get it right and not let them down, and we prove time and time again that we are the right people in which to place that trust.
This job continues to challenge and surprise me, but I really wouldn’t have it any other way. Imagine if it was easy all the time – my problem-solving skills would get rusty, and I would get stale. Being on your toes all the time can make you weary but the solutions, when they come, are energising, inspiring and exciting, especially when we all come together. I had one of those shiny proud moments last week and I’m so grateful. Hard work, getting comfortable in the uncomfortable and challenging the status quo have paid off for us all.