Achieving value for me.
Many of us are settling into a new sense of normality based on the ongoing circumstances. We’ve had to adapt. Those people fairing best are those who are determining their route by making it as meaningful as possible.
I spent half an hour watching a podcast about an interesting topic this morning but reflected afterwards that I’d felt bored and wondered what the point of it was. I question how much of our time we spend engaging with activities that don’t feel relevant, where to be honest we would rather be doing something else of greater importance?
But us Brits are often too polite to say, ‘no thanks!’ or to question why we’re asked to do things. We are more inclined to say ‘thanks, that was interesting/ great!’ instead. We need to learn to take greater responsibility for our time and how we choose to spend it. There is often the temptation to blame our manager or colleague when they ask us to engage with an activity and we wonder why we’re doing it. Instead, we should be helping shape those activities to be purposeful.
So, how do we prioritise making our time meaningful? Start by feeding back appropriately. That is about finding the right time with the right person and asking, ‘what’s the purpose?’ What is the intention of this video call/ meeting? What are you intending I feel, think or do differently by engaging with the activity? Share the real value for you, in polite terms! It is highly unlikely that people want to waste your time but without feedback, we are unable to fine-tune and make what we do as meaningful as possible.
We also need to stop doing things as a matter of habit, just because we have always done it like that. Normality is a comfort zone. Instead, start taking control of what we want; what really makes a difference. What inspires, motivates, utilises our strengths, helps us feel our best?
The poll commissioned by the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission (FFCC) and the Food Foundation charity, published this month, adds weight to the nation’s desire for the future to look different to our way of being in the past. The survey finds a clear majority (85%) want to see at least some of the personal or social changes they have experienced continue afterwards, while just 9% want a complete return to normal. Professor Tom MacMillan, research lead for the commission, said: “This data shows there is a real appetite for change, and for the nation to learn from this crisis. People are trying new things and noticing differences, at home, in their work and in communities.”
Pause. Rethink. Look at how to make positive changes a part of your new routine.
Providing value to others
We also have to rethink the value we provide for our clients.
Change is necessary if we are to succeed. Which direction will your company take into the future? Breaking from routine opens new opportunities and it’s vital we focus on these rather than aim to return to a sense of normality. That feels like going backwards.
My friend in the travel industry explained that his company is re-positioning its high-end holidays by focusing on the benefits to the countries visited, particularly in developing nations, instead of the luxury of the trip for us. Recruiters are having to think outside the box to offer something of value to their customers at a time when organisations are not taking on more staff. It’s about looking for new meaning. How can we inspire and motivate others to engage with our services in a sensitive way? We have to appeal to values.
As Mike Jennings says in his book, Valuable, ‘to embrace change… we (need to) understand why we are all in it together… Purpose and Values. Then we can be responsible for any action we may take and any change that we make.’ With your team, explore what your company is really about, why you exist, the difference you make, how you add value to your clients.
And while you’re at it, plan how you empower employees to hold on to what is important to them. What are the silver linings that we are experiencing? How are we keeping track of positive changes and our collective mood and using that to shape our future? How do we ensure that what we value now is part of our future practice, our new norm?
Embrace the change. Adapt. Be innovative.