Early this year a very good friend of mine and well seasoned authority on the characteristics of an entrepreneur pointed out ‘hope Rob does not revert to type and deliberately throw a spanner in the works in order to create the crisis he thrives on!’.
Not long after this inciteful comment I did not need to create a crisis as we entered blindly and very promptly into the COVID-19 pandemic we are all currently navigating our way through.
I must be honest in saying that when business is smooth I find myself complacent and disengaged as my extremely competent team deal with the day to day issues of the business and leave me to work on the future of which I do genuinely enjoy, but does this make me leap out of bed in the morning? Unfortunately not! I thrive on crisis…
What has prepared me for liking a crisis? I feel my main driver for crisis is relishing the challenge, like most entrepreneurs if told they cannot achieve, this spurs them on to surpass the hurdle and jump over it, whatever that may be. From an early age i welcomed a challenge with open arms and run towards the problem, this has proved pivotal in my working life with examples of becoming self employed at an early age, tackling markets and projects i am not familiar with and primarily embracing the risk and uncertainty while been prepared to fall over, dust off and move on. I think it is fair to say leaders should challenge themselves and their teams through inspiration, mentoring and growth, In my opinion three key elements for successful leadership.
After the initial shock of Covid 19 and how this was impacting our people and business in a very short period of time, the world came to a grinding halt of which I had time to enjoy the ‘stillness’ and spend time alone and with the team looking at the finer details and ‘go through the weeds’ of the business. This exercise gave me true focus on where I could and needed to improve the operation. I knew the devil would be found in the detail and we quickly set to work to find the opportunity and reignite.
I personally felt like I was starting again and savoured the challenge to achieve a positive mindset throughout the company. The situation had taken me back to the beginning where I was involved in all aspects of the business and a role I truly enjoy. Emptying bins, deliveries, liaising with clients and suppliers, farming and hunting new business, finance and so the list goes on.. basically taking myself into all elements and looking to improve these areas alongside the team.
As the pandemic unfolded and the weeks and months passed, tough decisions had to be made but now I felt I had visibility on making the correct decisions to secure the long term stability of the business.
Observing my peers throughout the crisis also reinforced my view on the importance of maintaining momentum and although the levels of trade decreased we kept going forward. As mentioned my ethic has always been to take a risk, say yes and solve the problem.. not always successfully I must add, failure is also a key element of evolving personally and as a leader.
I am going to summarise with my favourite quote (a lesson my children are tired of me saying!)
“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life”. Theodore Roosevelt