Presently, with the repercussions of recent bushfires receding and the implications of COVID-19 upon us, we all face unprecedented uncertainty. Many of us face the fear of our health deteriorating, fear for a member of our family, fear of isolation and fear for our future. Yet in the face of extraordinary adversity, first responders and essential workers are finding the strength to honour their commitments to our communities to keep all of us healthy and safe. Their loyalty, sacrifice, determination and teamwork cannot be overstated. Clearly, not all superheroes need superpowers.
Fittingly, a framed picture titled ‘Game Changer’ by Banksy depicts a young boy sitting on the floor playing with a nurse superhero toy. In the background, neglected Batman and Spiderman action figures lie in a wastepaper basket.
Fortunately, we can all feel more empowered by cultivating resilience through adversity. Whether it’s friends, family or co-workers in need of support, reaching out to encourage strength through resilience can be a powerful motivator during difficult times. If we don’t push through our own limitations, we are destined to keep them. And human resilience can help us overcome challenging situations, bounce forward and push through life’s setbacks and take us beyond our own limitations.
Developing a resilient attitude involves:
Resisting change is natural when it brings discomfort, but acknowledging and accepting change as an inevitability will shift focus away from the initial challenges towards the opportunity to learn and grow.
Unprecedented change forces us to pause, adapt and develop a new strategy to continue moving forward. In sailing, we say: “We can’t direct the wind but we can adjust the sails”.
Continuous progress wouldn’t be possible without action and failure. However, by ‘failing forward’ we can leverage our mistakes, make realistic assessments, experiment and action new approaches until successful.
Building Business Resilience
Building resilience within an organisation produces a healthy working environment which offers protection to deal effectively with times of change because organisational resilience is about effective leadership, team cohesion, mutual support and open, honest communication.
Kodak for example, led its industry and invested in the first process for capturing digital images which was set to revolutionise photography. Despite its history of innovation and new product development, Kodak suffered from its own inability to adjust its business model to realise the commercial value of this technology.
And recall Blockbuster, the most prominent participant in the video rental industry with thousands of retail locations and millions of customers. Meanwhile, newcomer Netflix continued ‘failing forward’ by experimenting with lowered costs and greater variety of entertainment which subsequently upended Blockbuster’s business.
Accept, Adapt, Act
Through the German-Australian Chamber, we formed a task force of specialised professionals, adapted by leveraging our skillsets and acted on behalf of businesses experiencing difficult trading conditions as a consequence of COVID-19.
Our discussions with NSW Treasury on March 24th 2020, aimed to drive through urgent changes to support Australian businesses. We communicated the immediate need of cash injections to assist businesses through the ‘crisis of closure’ because no business could maintain employees on their payroll, cover their rent or service their loans when revenues unexpectedly dropped to zero.
Aside from Tax, the most significant expenses for most businesses included Payroll, Rent and Interest. Consequently, we suggested to NSW Treasury that a combination of tax waivers, payroll subsidies and rental support would be the best course of action to help keep businesses afloat.
These early undertakings which borrowed elements of Germany’s Kurzarbeit policy, became more widely known as the ATO Tax Payment Deferral, Payroll Tax Relief, JobKeeper Subsidy, Small Business Support Fund, Land Tax Discounts for Landlords and Cash Flow Boost initiatives.
While the economic implications of COVID-19 have been deep and immediate, these Federal, State and Local Government initiatives will assist in accelerating Australia’s economic recovery.
Responding effectively to the immediate unanticipated implications of COVID-19 requires individual and organisational resilience. Learning and navigating our way through the changing environment of work and business will require us to continue experimenting, adapting and acting. Developing a resilient mindset ultimately gives us greater control through uncertainty, produces a healthy working environment and offers protection to deal effectively with the challenges ahead.
Fortunately, we can all feel empowered by cultivating resilience through adversity as we continue to grow through what we go through, unleashing our inner superhero.