a message from the Chief Operating Officer
March 16, 2020 marks a monumental time for me at RJL Solutions as I was honored to step into an incredible opportunity as the newly appointed Chief Operating Officer. The opportunity came with an interesting first assignment as that same day our company decided to prepare for the current situation focused around COVID-19. I am proud to be a part of a team that decided to transition to working from home early, as we learned to adapt quickly to these unprecedented times of uncertainty.
It is said that when you lose one sense, your remaining senses quickly begin compensating for the loss. This means something different for each company and every person; however, I am certain that we have lost one of our most valuable senses - the sense of physical connection to our friends and family, our clients and even our work and coworkers. We must now attentively focus efforts to regain those lost forms of communication and understanding by finding unique systems of connection.
It has been remarkable to experience the transition and change of working from home as we learn and adapt to a new normal. A normal that involves daycare and homeschooling in the same place as work, constant connectivity, laundry, web-hosted meetings, interruptions, multitasking at its greatest and continuous communication as we compensate for the lack of physical connectivity. Working from home has created new challenges with new opportunities and trials as we learn to “work” in a new form. Like many companies, we have quickly adapted to more intentional communication, both internally and externally.
As research promised, the business culture quickly adapted with other senses. One is listening. Of course, we have always listened, but now we depend on our ability to listen. The current state of a pandemic has caused us to more closely value the voices around us as we listen more attentively. We listen for emotional inflection, stress, drive and even gratification. These uncertain times have provided an opportunity to strengthen our listening proficiencies. Listening means taking notice and responding by making a calculated effort to hear. As I reflect on where we have come, this is exactly what we have done. As members of a conference call or zoom meeting, we intentionally listen to every aspect. Often, a member of the meeting will observe a sound from children or pets in the background as we each silently acknowledge the struggle of balance while rejoicing in the company of others.
We listen to our coworkers. We listen intentionally for many things. We hear the unique sounds of working from home, but we can also hear the stress, tension in their voices, and hear the distress in their concerns. We take in deep consideration of their wellbeing and frantically consider new ways to support, encourage and come alongside our valued and irreplaceable team. We hear the kids in the background and the interruptions being interruptions; work continues, and the progress overachieves the company’s penciled forecasts. As leaders, we are more intentional with our communication and above all, more sincere to our team's emotions. We are genuinely improving our abilities to understand, engage and respond to each other. In a less than ideal opportunity, we are refining our ability to adapt and listen with an intentional and sincere response.
There is a second group that deserves our intentional listening and response: our clients and our partners. Initially, as we all felt, many seemed discouraged, uncertain and concerned for what might be around the corner. As we listen to our clients and our partners share their earnest concerns, in their voice, you can hear the worry and uncertainty of the present times. There is no playbook or gameday video to watch; we are truly #inthistogether as we navigate the next hurdle. Each worry, just like ours, is different with a different weight of concern. Discouraging? No. This is our opportunity! Our opportunity to rebuild together, listen intently and respond with solutions. Not to sell but to uncover needs and create products and solutions for our partners. Zig Ziglar often is quoted in sales and motivational pieces saying, “True sales creates products and services for needs.” The need from a partner or customer’s worry. Consider this, consider how many have risen to the occasion to provide the next solutions by listening and uncovering the need. What will be your organization's next solution?
And lastly, as we reflect, we learned to listen to ourselves, to trust our gut and to respond with intentionality, drive and focus. As we make these next steps and navigate the next unknown, we can stand strong in trusting ourselves as leaders, relying on our training and believing in who we are, to succeed. What an opportunity! While not ideal, we have learned something about ourselves in these last few weeks. We have taken the time to listen to our ideas, and we transitioned better than we expected. We created new workspaces and daily operations, and we leveraged opportunities to serve others. We listened to our voice.
The mood has shifted. We have embraced the sounds of children in the background, remote learning obstacles and zoom meetings on our couch. It's made us who we are today, better listeners.
#betterlisteners #solutionmakers #rebuildingtogether