At Indicius, during Q2, we decided each team member would be writing an article every month starting August 2020, and I offered to be the first one on the list. The moment I started writing this text, I was already 1 month behind schedule.
But hey, who could blame me for not meeting a deadline? We are in the middle of a global pandemic, a new feeling every day, and I’m doing my best!
After talking with my colleagues during the early stages of this atypical situation, I discovered that almost all of us suffered a slowdown in our business. What was going to happen? What could we expect? What actions should we take?
Rapidly things started to change, the context itself pushed companies in every industry to get out there and accelerate any digital transformation/innovation plan they had, or even start one, ASAP. We’ve realized other companies needed to change –big time– in order to adapt themselves to the new reality and survive.
Going back to my homework, I wanted to write about some important aspects I think are helping us ‘as a team of humans’ turn this catastrophic year into a positive one. One to remember and appreciate.
Every time we look for a new partner, start a new relationship with a freelancer, open a new job position, or even when working with clients, the most important factor is that their values, perspectives, and attitudes align with our culture at Indicius.
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast” — Peter Drucker
Culture is a non-negotiable asset, and I’m glad we’ve kept it that way throughout the years, because it has been of special help during these uncertain times.
Do you want to know more about our culture? Stop by this section in our website and learn what keeps us strong as a team. 😎
Such an important word. It’s an essential part of human nature, and yet I started hearing it and using it more consciously during the last few years, maybe because of my country’s state of affairs. I always say it is like beef entrails or arugula, as almost nobody I knew used it 10–15 years ago (at least in my social environment).
Anyways, today I can’t conceive living without empathizing with everything that surrounds us. Friends, family, partners, clients, people in general… and also climate, nature… the entire world. Empathy is key for us, as a company, and this new reality is constantly testing us in that aspect.
‘Each person’s problems are important to the person who has to deal with them. Let’s exchange problems, I’ll give you mine, you give me yours. Let’s see what happens.’ — My uncle and friend once told me. Fantastic, and so true.
I guess I can summarize it in three aspects:
We empathize with each other, within the team.
Some of us have kids, others recently moved to the city from their home towns, others suffer from a lack of space to concentrate, and others just miss the office.
We empathize with our clients.
A big % of our clients are from the healthcare and healthtech industry, and since the pandemic took control over the world they have been busier and on-edge than ever. Other clients have urgent needs and don’t know how to handle remote work properly. Going the extra mile by improving our processes and being very patient with them has been our premise.
We empathize. Period.
We’re conscious about what’s going on out there, and we never stop thinking what could have happened if our business was strongly affected by an external factor we couldn’t manage. People are losing their jobs and companies are closing their businesses everywhere, while we keep doing what we love and growing, with new exciting projects coming in every month. 🙌
Also, during our short daily meetings with the team –prior to starting the day– different topics arise, and I couldn’t be happier with the way we handle those discussions. Different opinions, from different people, with different realities, and yet empathy prevails.
Even though remote work was already part of our dynamic, and although we quickly created a protocol when the lockdown was about to start, going 100% remote was –and continues to be– a challenge. Maybe we don’t face all of the challenges that other, more conventional companies are forced to face, but still, we did have to sort out certain obstacles.
I’ve realized how praise and recognition became even more important under this context. We are all making an extra effort, and even so, the final results may not always reflect our efforts. That’s why we need to pay special attention to this aspect.
Someone from the team once described one of my roles as ‘client whisperer’. I loved that, and at some point, it has to do with all this. I’m always doing check-ins with clients during a project trying to collect small chunks of positive feedback I can then share with the team to recognize the great work they are doing and motivate them to continue on that path.
And here I’m not saying we should go out there and over-praise everybody’s work. If you are looking to deliver high-quality work, that won’t help. But again, make sure at least that you’re not under-praising something that deserves recognition, or you’ll miss an excellent opportunity to increase motivation.
Praise and recognition should also come in the form of economic benefits and improvements for the team, when possible. In my opinion, the challenge nowadays is to find the best possible balance between the following:
Building a strong financial foundation for your company, in order to smoothly surf these uncertain times.
Sharing positive results with the team, as they are the company’s most important asset.
Finally, don’t forget about your clients. Every time you have the possibility, go ahead and let your client know that they are a pleasure to work with. Praise and recognize them with words, but also with discounts, unexpected decisions with a positive impact, extra patience during the process, and whatever you think can make the relationship stronger.
Do you run a digital agency or service company? What kind of changes you’ve implemented during the pandemic? I’d love to hear what other colleagues have to say and even test new approaches we can learn from.