Nine months ago, we touched the “pause” button on our own lives and business as we knew it. What changes did we have to make to keep going? What has changed around us, and how have we adapted to this new environment? And most importantly, what did we learn from our pause, how have our own behaviors changed, and can we apply these moving forward?
This is a lot to ponder. But we’ll need to because vaccines are on their way, and slowly the world will resume activity again. For me personally, I will enter this new world with a fresh perspective and enhanced strategies when it comes to our industry of Freight Forwarding.
With domestic and international travel halted company-wide, we stopped visiting customers in person as we used to do all week long. No more interacting with our colleagues at the office or meetings with our vendors, no more waking up to catch up an early flight, no more waiting in the lobby for our appointments to show up, no more staying in traffic for hours to get to our meetings.
We were forced to rethink the way we have always conducted our daily activity. Working from home or a remote location for hours on end took a lot of self-discipline, organization, and time management skills at a level that many of us may not have had. It was a new professional environment, and we were forced to adapt.
Our typical ways of approaching new clients and performing sales calls required imagination; a change of strategy was necessary to be able to differentiate ourselves from our competition and find a way to continue to WIN and gain market share. In the absence of face-to-face meetings, we’ve had to focus more on the basics, which often get overlooked; understanding our customers better and learning about their structure, business, and vendors. We had to go into every phone call or zoom meeting, armed with knowledge and facts. We’ve had to develop better communication skills with our customers and our professional colleagues within our own organization. We had time to put together internal strategies prior to calls and quickly do follow-up after each one.
Being in a pandemic together provided a newfound empathy for each other. Kindness was imperative, and respect was needed at all times. We understood that we were each going through our own struggles, and yet we were all in the same boat. We have learned to listen, to take time for each other, and to get to know each other better. Empathy, respect, and kindness are qualities we need more of in this very competitive and busy world, and hopefully, we all developed more of these. I know I have.
Regarding productivity, we have learned that we do not need to keep ourselves busy nonstop to be relevant during these new times. We have learned we can be just as efficient – and much more – using all the new technologies available to us, such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. We have learned that quantity is not always synonymous with quality. For me, this additional time gained has given me the possibility to spend more time with my family, to value what is precious in life and to truly understand what is important. You cannot be good at your job if you do not properly balance both work and family.
For me, and I hope for all of you, that you are able to see the value in this “pause.” We learned a lot about ourselves and the simple value in doing things in a different way.
In a few months, we hope that life will begin to resemble that which we knew before. But as we yearn for things to get back to normal, Let’s not fall into our old ways. Let’s take this time to understand how we can change our daily activity moving forward. Work more efficiently. Be smarter about how we use our time. Take time to connect with each other and with our customers. And on a larger scale we can use this “pause” to help us better understand what our purpose is, and how we define our goals in our professional and personal lives.
Let’s not waste these lessons and come back to our old habits. Let’s apply what we have all learned at every level during this time, and let’s try to make this place we call Earth a better world.
Sometimes we just need a “pause.”
Stay safe and be well.