INSPCT | Overcoming Business Challenges During Lockdown

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    Overcoming Business Challenges During Lockdown

    Overcoming Business Challenges During Lockdown

    We asked Brian, our MD, to tell us about his lockdown experiences in both his business and personal life. Brian tells us about the ups and downs, the decisions and how the changes have affected him, his team and his clients.

    What challenges have you had to overcome in business when lockdown first started?

    This is actually a difficult question to answer as it has affected my business life and my personal life differently. From a business perspective the first week was working out how the different businesses I have an interest in would continue to be able to service their clients in the way in which they had before lockdown.

    We were fortunate that working from home was not an alien concept at all. The next was how to make sure all the wonderful team were going to cope with working from home for what was an unknown period of time. Within days we had a regime of daily huddles for the different teams and weekly team meetings on Zoom for the entire team in each business. They’ve panned out differently in each business but the over-riding thing for me is that I have gotten to know each and every member of the team much better than I did before lockdown. Mainly because I can see what is behind them on zoom calls!

    How did you manage the changes for our clients?

    There was some unavoidable apprehension at the beginning about the survival of the businesses and how the lockdown / pandemic was going to affect our customers and therefore ultimately our own businesses.
     
    We did what every business did and ran the numbers to see at what point we needed to make any decisions we didn’t really want to make. Fortunately the affect has thus far not been as bad as it could have been, so I’m thankful for that.
     
    It’s been a lot quieter that’s for sure. But it’s given everyone the time to look at what we do for our clients and change some things to make our client’s journey with us even better.
     
    Product and Service is extremely important to me and from the start of lockdown I was saying, “ok, what can we do to improve things for our clients to support them through this? What will allow them to come out of the sprinting blocks when the world wakes up again?” It has truly been an inspirational time for me.

    Has lockdown changed you as a business leader?

    I’ve had a lot of time to reflect and a couple of weeks into lockdown. I stepped down as CEO of a business I have an interest in and took up the role of Chairman. I had a fabulous successor sitting in the wings and he has approached the role with gusto.

    The reason for making the decision was because I knew we needed to have strategic plans in place to get the businesses through the pandemic and I knew I would struggle to do that effectively with all the other responsibilities as CEO.

    My passion is strategy, leadership, people, culture, values and everything that makes businesses great, its just a shame it took a pandemic to get me to make the decision to step back and concentrate on all these things.

    So thanks for sharing your business challenges. Now tell us how have you been?

    From a personal point of view putting a workaholic’s desk in their living room is not the best idea for a work life balance that was already a tad skewed as my partner, my kids and the dog will attest to. I’ve always wanted to cycle and my eldest son is a keen cyclist. So I bought a road bike. I spent way more than I intended because they became like gold dust pretty quick.
     
    Shortly after, the charity committee of one of my businesses decided we were going to do an office dash for our chosen charity. This was decided on a Friday evening virtual team drinks and after a couple of glasses of wine I piped up and said I would do 500 miles on my bike and walking Arthur (that’s the dog, a miniature golden doodle) in 30 days.

    Did you do it?

    I completed my 500 miles on day 29 but I have to admit to thinking about Bill Gates saying that lots of people over estimate what they can achieve in a year but underestimate what they can achieve in 10 years. Okay I know it was only 30 days but I seriously overestimated what I could achieve. The biggest issue was the Scottish weather.
    Don’t get me wrong I would play golf in the rain and don’t dislike the rain (how can you live in Glasgow and not be ok with rain!) But 16.5 stone on a bike with tyres less than an inch wide with no grip on wet cobbles is not going to end well so I ended up having to do about 40 miles on day 29.
    But I loved every minute of it, the clarity of thought when cycling is just such a release. I will definitely keep it up, maybe just a couple of times a week though.

    Have you had time to do anything else?!

    The only other thing I wanted to do in lockdown that I haven’t achieved yet, is to learn to play a musical instrument. My mother always told me I was tone deaf but I’ve always wanted to try. So what did I choose? The bloody saxophone. My partner’s daughter used to play so there was one in the house. It took me a couple of days to even get a sound out of it! I haven’t got any further with it yet as I need to learn to read music first but I am determined to give it a go over the next few months.

    Any final thoughts you’d like to share?

    The one thing I think I will always have to work on is how to get the energy of a board room or meeting room into Zoom. I think my energy comes across but I find it difficult to feed off the room when on virtual calls. I did a LinkedIn Video on it a couple of weeks ago and a pal of mine messaged me with “Microsoft Whiteboard man – get a grip”.

    I probably hadn’t explained properly. Lots of companies all over the world have been using this technology for years. But I used to visit the HO of each business at least every 2 weeks and so I’m so used to the connection of the board room. The buzz of a meeting room. Getting up walking around. I have really struggled with that but I am getting used to it.

    Right Arthur – walkies….

    For more of Brian’s news and updates, you can follow him on LinkedIn 

    Or for updates about the business – please follow the INSPCT app ‘s LinkedIn page

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