I have had a long-held ambition to develop my business; and the hard work and determination had started to reap the rewards, until 13th March 2020, with the outbreak of Covid-19. My clients were forced to change direction, focus on specific operational issues, furlough staff and halt their work with me, overnight 90% of my business disappeared.
Those that know me well, know that I have strong and firm personal values and ethics; honesty, trust, doing-the right thing when others will not, integrity, courage and kindness. Some of these values have led previously to many sleepless nights, upset, and periods of anxiety when I have known that the ramifications are greater than me. However, I will ALWAYS stand up for what is right, be honest and have integrity, regardless of the upset it might cause me, or the CHANGE that I will have to deal with.
What happens if you are not prepared for change?
I remember talking to some new recruits that I had hired in 2008, saying that there is one constant in business, and that is change. If you are in the mind-set that everything will stay the same, always, you may struggle to deal with the changing situation. I am not suggesting you waste hours of time and effort planning for and anticipating change but have some tools and techniques ready so that you are more prepared when the change comes. You can adapt your plans and make changes.
This is what I did on 24th March 2020, with Covid-19 raging through the world, over 90% of my business drying up for the foreseeable future, I adapted my plans, took control and started to make changes.
Prior to this date I wasn’t 100% in the right mind-set for the change the pandemic was bringing to our lives. Doing nothing, expecting everything to remain the same would lead me to a difficult place emotionally and physically. So, I adapted to the change. I took control of my emotions, my personal and family situation, because I recognised, I had no control over the wider context and environment, so needed to be flexible with the change upon the country and my business.
If you don’t prepare for the change you may feel the situation is beyond your control, you may be struggling and worrying, feeling symptoms of stress or anxiety. Your physical health may deteriorate, or sleep may be difficult. You may turn to food or alcohol to manage your symptoms.
10 Easy Steps for dealing with Change
- Notice that you are in a period of change, it may seem obvious but sometimes it can be easy to bury your head. Don’t subconsciously deny it. Don’t try to run and hide, talk about it or maybe write in a diary or notebook to write about any changes you notice.
- .Face up to how you are feeling about the change and situation, especially when the change is imposed by others and beyond your control. Get past “Why does/did it happen to me?”, or that “It is not fair”! You do not need to be a victim, even if the situation is not one you are in control of.
- Accept or Reject the change reflect on what you are accepting, what you are rejecting, and what you are doing something about. This will give you an element of control.
- Have a grateful attitude see a positive opportunity inany change. There is always a benefit and an opportunity to all situations. Write down the positives, keep a record to reflect upon. Having a positive and powerful attitude will help a positive mind.
- Choose positive thoughts, rather than negative, negative thoughts can block your problem-solving abilities. Positive thoughts build possibilities and opportunities.
- Relax (more than usual) Try deep breathing techniques, exercise also helps most of us to relax. Choose what best suits you.
- Set yourself goals this is important so that you consciously guide the change and be in a positive place to work towards the goals you want to achieve.
- Communicate surround yourself with positive people who can help support you, and help you deal with any negative feelings you may be having.
- Take personal responsibility you cannot change the wider context of the change, but take personal responsibility for your own situation, take steps on the actions you can control, rather than dwelling on those you cannot.
- Don’t worry about how you show up it is important that you adapt to the change in the right way for you, don’t adapt following a ‘formula’ of others. Do what is right for you and your situation. Don’t be misled by social media. When periods of change are significant, fake news, negative stories, posts and comments can drag you down.
My change steps
So, with 90% less income, I now have 90% spare capacity, rather than wallow, be negative and impact on my well-being I worked on my ‘change’ contingency plan.
- Work on the business – reviewing what works well, what the future products and service might be, refining processes
- Marketing – writing articles, social media posts, virtual networking and marketing collateral to keep my name and brand in peoples mind
- Reviewing part time work opportunities, alongside my virtual coaching and mentoring business– I want to be active and to #makeadifference during this time, before ‘normal’ returns and my clients open up again
So, on Wednesday 8th April, along with many others from a wide range of sectors including Electricians, Fitness Instructors, Project Managers, Administrators, Students and Tutors, I joined the #keyworker team at Morrisons Strood, on a temporary contract, doing my bit to contribute to #feedingthenation. I honestly don’t mind, what I do from serving customers, marshalling to help everyone shop safely observing the social distancing rules, picking orders for vulnerable customers and supporting colleagues who do an incredible job and have been supporting the nation for many weeks.
I don’t want to be idle; I have worked full time since 1990, having started part time in agriculture and retail work in 1983. I know a lot of people see retail as ‘beneath’ them, to me at such a vital time for the country, my family and my business this is the perfect choice and one that I can control in a situation that I have such little control! I have a background in food and non-food retail and supply chain logistics, so this seemed an ideal choice in the ‘new world’. It is ironic that a trade that was not at the top of my school career advisors list of jobs is now considered ‘key’. Those of us with a retail and supply chain background have always known it is a key sector.
Whatever changes comes your way, these 10 steps may help you on your journey.
If you would like to discuss how coaching, mentoring or training for your managers and team can be implemented in your business, please get in touch Tracy-Anne Barker @ TA Barker Associates Tracy-Anne@tabarkerassociates.co.uk
TA Barker Associates are an outsourced People Development and Corporate Social Responsibility specialists with 30 years of experience in the Construction, Retail, Recruitment, Charity, Public Sector, Training, Education, Supply Chain, Overseas Trading and Hospitality industries.
Founded by Tracy-Anne Barker, they have extensive experience in managing the three P’s (3P’s) – People, Productivity and Profitability. They provide ambitious and growing companies with experts who partner with you to build long term relationships, deliver practical and strategic solutions for your business, personalised to suit you. These include coaching and training for your team, management and consultancy support, audits and reviews of processes and procedures.