“A chicken doesn’t stop scratching just because worms are scarce.” ~Anonymous
I love this quote, in fact this weekend on Twitter that quote received the most replies of any quote I sent out. Why? Perhaps it speaks to us about the current economic situation. It speaks to us about never giving up, about knowing deep down that we must keep going. It tells us that we still must eat, pay our bills and says loudly that a defeatist attitude is a greater danger to our success than is scarcity.
To add to this concept I remind you of the inspirational, sincere and heart warming day of the inaugural celebrations both prior to and after the swearing in of the new US President, Barack Obama. Hope, change, transparency are all themes we saw rise out of the incredible activities and the vibration that was Washington!
Take a few minutes for deep thought on “scratching” no matter what your role; Leader, Employee or Newly Unemployed!
When times are tough, some of the first cutbacks are in the areas of Training, IT and Travel & Expenses. Risk management is at an all time high to ensure companies are careful with projects and initiatives such that there’s no room for profit margin fallout. It’s tough to lead in these times, your boss is demanding and your employees are holding you under a microscope. Your heart knows the many things you would LIKE to do as a leader, but the cutbacks make you feel like your hands are tied! Take heart, you are the one who needs to provide energy, optimism and enthusiasm to your team – grab the reins and take the challenge! Perhaps these questions will help you find a path to motivate and inspire your staff.
· Have I been honest with my team about our situation?
· Do I trust the staff and their talent and generosity of ideas for solutions to find our “best actions”?
· Do I know who my employees really are and what significant contributions they make to the company, or how we can work with their strengths to improve?
· Are there ways I can go above and beyond in order to make a difference for my team and their success and ultimately for the company?
· Am I modelling the behaviour I wish to see from my employees?
Man, when you get scared that the axe is going to fall it can be hard to head to work every day. It is also hard when the axe has fallen and some of your favourite co-workers have been let go. Morale sinks to an all-time low and some days it’s hard to dig your way out and keep pace with your workload. Remember, you have a job and part of that job is loyalty to the tasks you have been asked to perform. No one can create a great attitude for you; that’s your job!
Now is not the time to lay low and hide, now is the time to shine. Ask yourself these questions to see if you are on the right track.
· What am I contributing to the team in order to help my boss make it through this tough time?
· What have I done in the last 6 months that make a difference for the team such as mentoring or holding a training session for the junior people?
· What can I do over the next 6 months to a year to support the team, my boss and ultimately the company?
· Am I really giving the best I’ve got or am I sliding by in discouragement?
· How am I stepping up to show leadership as an employee?
· Am I willing to bear the load with integrity, honesty, and transparency in order to complete projects and maintain a “thrive-don’t-dive” attitude?
If you have been a casualty of the many lay-offs around the globe, then you have been hit hard, and most likely blind-sided! You have responsibilities, maybe a family and you certainly have bills to pay. For some of you it’s been a long time since you’ve had to seek work and it’s even possible you were hired out of college through a student co-op with barely any experience in finding work. Answering some of these questions might lead you in the right direction for your search.
· How long am I willing to let the shock, anger and <insert-your-emotion-here> keep me from taking action? How long will I allow myself to grieve? (pin down a date here)
· Have I sent a personal email out to ALL of my contacts letting them know I am available for work? (Now is not the time to feel shame or embarrassment!)
· When was the last time I wrote an article or whitepaper for a trade magazine in my industry?
· Am I aware of the government programs available to the unemployed for retraining?
· Am I taking advantage of the outplacement sessions provided with my package?
· What kinds of industry networking events are available in my community?
· Have I contacted my creditors to negotiate payments and lower rates?
It is ACTION that brings one to solution; building a plan starts with asking yourself many questions so that you are clear about your situation. By answering the tough ones, by standing up to some truly difficult truths about yourself, you will be able to start your action plan for moving through difficult times!