2020 has taught us that Hope, Reflection and Gratitude, and the simple meanings behind each can be quite difficult to do or demonstrate in today’s environment…..as individuals, members of a community, manufacturing team members and leaders, each one of us has our own unique vantage point and an individual story on how this pandemic has affected us both personally and/or professionally.
But reflecting back on 2020, one can think of and be proud of the agility, resilience and innovations our Illinois Manufacturing Community demonstrated, whether transitioning product lines to produce PPE, transitioning production to produce sanitizing solutions, or increasing investments in safety training, deep cleaning and PPE supplies to protect their most valuable resource – employees. And, regardless of which boat we find ourselves in weathering this storm, we can try to find hope, reflection, and gratitude.
- Recognize that stable and/or flat results are better than losses in a year like 2020 - Not every year can be wildly profitable and, in an unprecedented year like 2020, it is helpful to consider that surviving, keeping the doors open and employees working and paid is success. We cannot rightly compare 2020 business results to previous years. Let's celebrate the wins we were able to achieve and, for the businesses that have survived, by whatever means, let's acknowledge it as the big win it is
- Acknowledge that, while we've all been impacted differently by the pandemic, we have all been affected - Think about the perspective and position of others, those whose struggles are worse than our own, and most of all those who have lost their lives. Gratitude for the good things in our own lives has been positively associated with overall happiness, general health, and the quality of one's relationships, and it can also directly affect performance including professional performance
- Consider giving back to our employees who weathered this year with us - Perhaps we're not in a position to offer monetary gifts to our employees, but can we still provide a token of appreciation whether it's extra time off, flex time, company-branded gifts, or simply hand-written notes acknowledging their extra efforts in difficult times
- Connect with customers and suppliers - Consider making a thank you video to share via your social networks. Give your customers a call to check in, offer assistance, share insights and best practices and just say thank you. Reach out to suppliers to check in and share forward-looking business projections.
- Thank first responders - If you are in a position to do so, consider ordering lunch or sweet treats for local healthcare workers, teachers, or first responders. Or have employees write thank you notes to front line workers. Expressing gratitude can have a positive mental health effect on both the receiver and the giver
- Connect with business colleagues, friends, and family - Especially in difficult times, it is imperative that we remember we are never alone. Humans are social creatures and with the advances in technology we have the means to genuinely reconnect.
2020 has certainly been difficult and wrought with its challenges, but if we take the opportunity to reflect and find the good in the bad it should provide the opportunity to look forward with the hope of a new year. Be well, and be safe, and may you find your own hope, reflection, and gratitude.
Don't hesitate to reach out to IMEC if you need help planning and implementing strategies to help your business excel.