With the recent return to elevated lockdown levels there has been a lot in the media about the emotions of the time and the management of stress.
Indeed, the revelations of the past few days regarding the source of this lockdown have given rise to tangible frustration, particularly for businesses and friends in Auckland. There is also a lot of finger pointing about, but we are where we are and it needs to be managed – including, for once, actually finding out how a previously undetected variant "appears" out of nowhere in the South Auckland community.
And so, let's move on to the matter of resilience in a time of uncertainty. There are self-proclaimed gurus everywhere (particularly on social media) who believe they have the tools to "get you through" the tough times. There is also a lot of media and information about something called "mindfulness". The stock definition of it is "paying attention to what is happening in the present moment".
For me, this topic has the potential to be a little too "new age" and I can't say that I practise meditation or eastern religions, but it is something I believe has value in today's environment. So, here is my Whanganui/New Zealand-based take on it in business context.
The ability for boards and/or business leaders to clearly and without interruption evaluate their situation is crucial to decision making. In fact all strategies should demonstrate a proper and clear understanding of the internal and external environment. This is commonly done utilising tools like risk management or SWOT analysis. But the key is how you react to it and the impact of the situation on your thinking.
The concept of "mindfulness in business" goes further by referencing two key qualities to decision making. First there is clarity, in that your thinking and understanding is clear about all material matters impacting the decision. Secondly, there is the "emotional quotient" (EQ) to ensure that the emotional aspect of decision making is a part of the decision but not driving the decision – emotion and enthusiasm being the fuel that makes the decision making machine go rather than the vehicle itself or, even, the driver.
Likewise, especially when there are risks crystallising and the "control" appears to be beyond you (like high lockdown levels), it is critical that you apply tools so that you are not swept up in the excitement for a decision or operating too much out of fear of potential consequence. A good example of this might be the Government's balancing act of managing the risk of Covid-19 virus spread versus the inconvenience and economic cost of higher lockdown levels. You can only make decisions based on the information that you have at the time, but you need to have a clear head while also being mindful of the potential downstream consequences. This is not to say that all decision making is to be cold and clinical – sometimes gut instincts are important components of decision making but some decisions that appear to be made for what appear to be all the "right" reasons can backfire badly.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
Finally, I read a great book over the Christmas break, which interviewed several successful people from all walks of life. I took note of what was the most frequent response to times of stress, or when big decisions needed to be made. The most common was brief separation from the situation (like exercise or meditation), clearing the mind and raising self-awareness. If you will excuse me, I have a date with the Durie Hill steps...