Your transformation PODCAST

Creating Synergy Podcast

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Ep. 2 – Why Organisational Culture matters in times of uncertainty

Intro:

Welcome to Creating Synergy where we explore what it takes to transform, whether you are transforming yourself, your team, your business, or your community. We’ll connect you with insightful and challenging leaders who share their stories of successful transformations to give you practical ideas for your own journey. Join us for another insightful episode of Creating Synergy.

Daniel Franco:

Welcome back to Creating Synergy episode number two. We are… What are we? A lot of has changed I guess since-

Michelle Holland:

Since episode one.

Daniel Franco:

Since episode one and that was only a couple of weeks ago. The world has been taken over by at least a little thing called coronavirus, which is really interesting. Just to explain to everyone, Creating Synergy is a podcast that we’re aiming to help businesses with their cultural leadership and change and transformation and helping people in these businesses really adopt new ways of thinking that can really improve the business and help the people within the businesses. So today on episode two, my name is Daniel Franco. I am a director of Synergy IQ. And today we’ve got Michelle Holland who is also a co-director of Synergy IQ and author of three books in culture and leadership, her newest and latest being Culture Inc, which is a must read for people who have that on their mind right now I guess.

Michelle Holland:

Or are sitting at home with lots of time to kill.

Daniel Franco:

Exactly. Actually I did see a quote talking about we’ve got more time to do all the things around the house, read the books, play the games that we’ve wanted to do for awhile.

Michelle Holland:

Yeah, that’s the theory, anyway.

Daniel Franco:

So welcome Michelle. Thank you.

Michelle Holland:

Thanks Daniel. Yeah, we hadn’t anticipated I was going to come back so quickly but given the intensity of the situation, we thought it was good to ramp up and get out some podcasts or some information that we thought that would actually help businesses going through this time at the moment.

Daniel Franco:

Yeah. The world has been turned on its head, hasn’t it really? It’s a scary time for most, I guess, in the sense of the uncertainty, which is sort of the scary piece in all this is. What’s happening? What do we do? And we’re obviously concerned about loved ones and our lifestyle that’s sort of been ripped away from us. So yeah, it’s an interesting world.

Michelle Holland:

So if you’re tuning into this, and it’s 2025 now, in 2020 remember that there was this big virus that came out and scared the crap out of everyone essentially in turn the world on its head.

Daniel Franco:

So today is March 18th, is the date.

Michelle Holland:

2020.

Daniel Franco:

We’re in the midst of it.

Michelle Holland:

Yeah, that’s exactly right. So we thought today we would talk about… Still talking about culture because that’s part of what we need to be talking about. Of course culture is a bit of a different topic today than it was even a week ago.

Daniel Franco:

Absolutely. So I’m just going to get straight into some questions, Michelle. I think everyone doesn’t really want to hear us ramble on about this too much. I think culture has been really a big part of businesses up until now, and what you often say, culture just is. It’s been on the, on the lips of a lot of business owners and boards, especially of late and really in ways to improve their culture and grow their businesses through the culture stream. But that’s been replaced by this word called coronavirus right now. What do you believe is the impact that this virus will have on businesses and their culture?

Michelle Holland:

Well, I think the biggest issue for me, or it seems to be, for the coronavirus and the way businesses are responding to the coronavirus, is the uncertainty that is in I guess public mindset. The governments are making different calls on a day to day basis. Everybody’s watching what different world leaders are doing. There seems to be a different decision made almost on a daily basis right now. So people are really dealing with that uncertainty. They don’t know what they don’t know what they don’t know. And because of the uncertainty, what a lot of businesses are doing is they’re battening down the hatches. They’re putting pause on all of the things that actually make businesses great. The biggest concern, I think, for businesses, particularly if you’re talking about their culture, is the social distancing.

Michelle Holland:

It is an interesting term, social distancing. I think in my opinion it’s the wrong term to actually utilize. Really what we’re trying to achieve is physical distancing, so we’re trying to make sure that people are staying away from each other so that they’re not transmitting any kind of communicable diseases. So social distancing for me has a really unhealthy context when you think about cultures in businesses, the way in which we interact in businesses. It concerns me that we are encouraging people to disconnect from each other. As far as the impact on culture and business culture, it will have an impact. Culture, however, is is deeply ingrained in the DNA of the business. So unless it’s about completely pivoting your business, like corona… And it’s not the coronavirus that’s doing it, it’s the decision making that sits around coronaviruses… The coronavirus, sorry, that is making businesses have to pivot, have to change the way they’re working. It’s not the actual virus that’s doing it is the decisions that are happening around it.

Michelle Holland:

But because they are changing the way they’re working, that will absolutely have an impact on their culture. Whether it’s a longterm impact is a really interesting question. I think we need to watch as it grows and as people settle into this new way of working, that virtual world that has been around for years and years and years, I was just talking about a friend of mine this morning who… She’s worked from home for the last 15 years, so it’s commonplace for her and she’s in a global business, so they all talk to each other, et cetera. So it’s very commonplace. Probably for 80% of us, it’s not as commonplace. It might be we work from home one day a month or a couple of days during school holidays or when we can get away with it, that sort of thing, because businesses are still in that phase of does work from home mean that you’re not actually working and instead you’re doing your laundry in the middle of the day and you’re not doing your job?

Daniel Franco:

Is it the attachment to the nine to five I guess, if you work from home, they expect you to be on your computer from nine to five and then now working from home just throws that completely out of the water?

Michelle Holland:

Yeah, I think it’s actually more basic than that. It’s literally I can’t eyeball you. If I can’t eyeball you and I’m the kind of manager that has a low trust center, then I’m going to be questioning whether you’re working. So we’re still in a very old fashioned and traditional world of if your bum is in the seat and you’re sitting behind a computer, because nowadays the computer is the factory, so offices are the factories now. I’m sitting behind a computer, I’m on a seat, my manager is sitting across from me, they can see me. I come in at 9:00, I clock in, my computer goes on, and then I leave at five. There’s an assumption of trust that work is getting done. There’s, I guess, the illusion that work gets done more in an office environment.

Michelle Holland:

Actually the research shows that people are much more productive when they are able to, particularly if they’re doing data work or writing or individual work. If they are in an environment where there’s no distractions, they are much more productive.

Daniel Franco:

There’s less interruptions, I was going to say.

Michelle Holland:

Totally, totally. So you know, businesses are needing to pivot the way they’re working to accept those new ways. I think for me the biggest thing for culture in this state of crisis is it’s going to highlight your culture dramatically. So if you have a high collaborative, trust-based, performance driven, outcome driven, customer centric culture, then you will thrive during this period of time. If you have a low center of trust, both from the manager to the staff, from the staff to the manager, if you have a low center of agility within the business, if there is an environment where micromanagement is commonplace, that managers drop into their people’s work on a day to day basis, if that’s the kind of culture that you have, it’s going to be tough and it’s going to really, really highlight those negative aspects of your culture during this period of time.

Daniel Franco:

100%. I think for me, and something that we often speak to our customer base about, is that culture is what gets done when no one’s looking, isn’t it really? And this is absolutely where we are right now.

Michelle Holland:

Absolutely. It’s in the DNA of the business, that’s the thing. And right now the DNA of the business is completely changed. So it’s how do we respond to that? And if we’ve got an already dynamic, agile style business and culture, then during this period of time… There there’s going to be pain, don’t get me wrong, but those kinds of businesses are more likely to be able to weather the storm.

Daniel Franco:

It makes you think that right now this is the rise of the gig economy, isn’t it really? This is the rise of remote working. We can hire anyone that we want from anywhere in the world to do this job. It doesn’t need to be a bum on a seat in South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, wherever it might be.

Michelle Holland:

And I think there’s a lot of businesses that are already there, but this is definitely throwing people into a position where they can either find the opportunities in that or find the problems in it. Probably and find the problems in it is more more real for most businesses.

Daniel Franco:

So given that it could potentially really highlight the problems of culture and obviously you said the thriving ones, obviously less, for those who have a lesser culture, should they forget, amongst all this crisis, about their current cultural programs or should they just focus on getting through?

Michelle Holland:

Just get stuff done? That is actually a really big question. The standard practice is generally in crisis times, in recessions, we saw this when the GFC hit, the first thing that businesses decrease is their spending in training, their spending in employee programs, their spending in marketing as well, is another one, and customer contact and experience. The decrease in spend is unfortunately around all of those human centric areas. Now that might seem like a really good thing to do in the immediate and it absolutely will help fix some of the short term financial issues. Yeah, absolutely. 100%. the issue will be is if this is not a three month issue, this is a 6, 12, 24 month and we still haven’t invested in our culture. We haven’t invested in our people, we haven’t invested in our customers, we haven’t kept our people current, kept their capabilities current, because the companies that do that and keep their people current, the people who stay current will zoom ahead.

Michelle Holland:

So when we hold back on investing in capability building and whether that’s capability building individually or by teams or by organizations through culture programs, we’re actually holding our business back. Now. There is obviously some sensible reasoning behind that. My advice is do it today, maybe do it tomorrow, but if we’re still in this same position in September and you’re not investing in your people, you are going to put yourself into a different kind crisis, and that crisis will be as soon as the bounce happens, because there will be a bounce. This isn’t a financial crisis, this is a health crisis. So as soon as there is some sort of leveling off and we go, “Okay, it’s all right now, we’ve got the fix to this. We’ve got virus busters or whatever they come out with.” Clearly not a scientist, whatever it is-

Daniel Franco:

 Ghostbusters.

Michelle Holland:

Yeah, Ghostbusters, the virus busters.

Daniel Franco:

It’d be nice if it was, yeah.

Michelle Holland:

That’s right. Whatever that is. And there’s bounce. It’s the companies that have invested with their people, and they will keep their good people. The ones that haven’t, the ones that at best ignore their people, at worst, treat them badly through this period of time, they won’t bounce back the same way. Because as soon as the economy starts lifting again, what you see happening is the good employees, the ones that are producing the best outcomes, they’re very employable. So they go, “Hey, now I can find another job. I’m going to.” So short term thinking makes short term decisions which has longterm negative impact and I think we need to be really careful about that as a business.

Daniel Franco:

I guess each business is in its own scenario. Are you talking absolutely smaller SMEs, small and medium enterprise versus the big corporates have different budgets, different priorities. Smaller businesses are in survival mode. However, we should not forget about our people.

Michelle Holland:

Yes, yes. Look, it doesn’t take any money at all to stay connected with your people. It doesn’t take any money to have a phone conversation with somebody or a Zoom conversation with someone or Skype or whatever. Not promoting any particular brand.

Daniel Franco:

It comments more about the development of the people in a time of crisis. Development is something that drops off, but however it’s the way we treat our people, we bear it together, solve problems together, we create purpose together. That’s more important in a smaller business than what it is in a larger business.

Michelle Holland:

Absolutely. That’s right. And you know, if there is a capability gap in managers, the leaders of the business in that space and helping people through, they’re already not communicating with their people, they’re going to struggle during this time. I guess on the flip side, it’s the perfect opportunity to actually up-skill. If you are working from home and you don’t have the distractions of the hundred meetings that you normally have every week, you’re having shorter meetings because they’re online, you’re having less commute time, there’s a whole host of benefits-

Daniel Franco:

You’re getting almost three hours back in your day.

Michelle Holland:

Absolutely. You can be investing in your own development. You can-

Daniel Franco:

I would say you should.

Michelle Holland:

You should. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, totally. I think if you’re not investing in your development, then nobody else is going to. So it starts [crosstalk 00:16:28]-

Daniel Franco:

Well it goes back to what you said before, when everything goes back to, in inverted commas, normal-

Michelle Holland:

Whatever normal will be.

Daniel Franco:

Whatever normal looks like. If you have invested that time in yourself, you’re essentially in front. you’re in front. There’s the the Malcolm Gladwell 10,000 hour rule and whatnot. Apparently, the statistics show, if you’re 5% smarter or more knowledgeable, I should say, in a certain area than the next person, they consider you an expert. So it’s really interesting, the power of what you can get out of self development in the next three to six months is huge. Especially when coming back and we’re going to probably see rise… Considering this isn’t a financial downturn, it’s a health crisis that has had financial impact, we’ll see the rise quite strongly after, I believe anyway.

Michelle Holland:

Oh absolutely. And look, the world of learning has been moving online for a number of years now, there’s still… I don’t want to bite off my nose to spite my face here, because there’s still absolutely a benefit of face to face contact. We are a social creature, we’re hardwired for connection. So that’s why when you’re in a live training program or a live workshop or a live conference, whatever it is, and you’re surrounded by other human beings. A music event, a comedy show, and you’re surrounded by those other humans, there’s a different energy level that happens and we bounce off of each other and we grow from each other and that connection is really important. So we can’t underestimate that that disconnection that’s happening now is going to have an impact on our ability to connect. It’s going to have an impact on our wellbeing. I think that’s probably [crosstalk 00:18:20], it’s going to have an impact on our wellbeing, and online training is actually really good nowadays.

Michelle Holland:

There’s some amazing things that you can learn online.

Daniel Franco:

Do you have a plug? No, we won’t go there.

Michelle Holland:

No, we won’t go there right now. But I’ve done a ton of online training with different providers over the last 10 years. One, because it suits my lifestyle. I can learn at midnight if I want to learn at midnight, or on Saturday morning. I can listen to podcasts and Audible books and whatnot in the car. I can learn on the go, which suits me, suits my lifestyle. There’s a lot of opportunity. I think that’s probably where I’m coming from. There’s a lot of opportunity to learn now and get some good training from people that are around the world as well.

Daniel Franco:

Oh, there’s so much available. It’d be remiss of any once and not even considered it, I think. You’ll fall behind the eight ball if you don’t consider developing yourself in these next six months. It’s that simple.

Michelle Holland:

I think so, yes. Because clearly businesses are going to be more conscious about spending large amounts of money on leadership programs, training programs for the broad audience. It will be more bite sized learning and you’re absolutely right. If you can take control of that, don’t let somebody else dictate the input of learning for you. If you are listening to this and you’re sitting at home going, “What’s next for me? I’ve I’ve done my eight hours, now I’ve got my two hours that I would normally commute back and forth from work.” Do something to learn in that. Grow.

Daniel Franco:

Absolutely. It’s an investment, isn’t it really? You spend $50 on a little two hour course or something like that. You get one pill of wisdom that could increase your pay wage by 10 grand or something like that. Everyone really does need to consider it. And obviously it’s not going to work with every scenario and every training. There are a few ones out there that aren’t so good. There are some that are really fantastic. You’ve got to find what suits you the best I guess.

Michelle Holland:

But worst case scenario, you spend 50 bucks and you watch a few videos that just aren’t that great. You’ve learned something from that. Don’t buy that particular video again.

Daniel Franco:

You know of the brands and everyone that you like. In saying all this, it really is interesting, and you obviously are an expert in leadership. What role do leaders play in ensuring that their culture stays strong during this time of crisis? And we talk about coronavirus, COVID-19, or this scenario that we’re in right now, it’s crisis mode. And where do the leaders come into play?

Michelle Holland:

It is. It is crisis mode. It’s really interesting, actually, because I was reflecting on conversations that I had with leaders in a business that we worked with a while ago, it’s a large water utility business. And we were talking about culture because we were doing some work with them on their culture and how effective they were in work. And I remember having this conversation with one of the leaders there saying, “I actually believe that our culture is better during crisis.” And I was really quite curious about that, so I asked her a little bit more about it and, “Why do you think that is?” And she said to me, she says, “Well, when you’re in crisis mode, you actually do what needs to get done. You don’t worry so much about all of the fluff that sits around it, all of the bureaucratic stuff that sits around it. Your leaders are more likely to make quicker evidence based decisions rather than emotional based decisions because they need to get stuff done and done quick.”

Michelle Holland:

That’s a constructive culture. That’s a constructive culture. And when I went and tested that with a number of other leaders in that business, because obviously a few years ago we had quite a big drought across Australia, so they were dealing with drought time and they were saying the same thing. “Yeah, when we were in that real crisis time, we worked so well together because we didn’t allow the little things to get in the way.” It’s the little things again in the way on a daily basis that start to kill our culture. It’s those “it’s my way or the highway” stuff. It’s the frustrations we get with the systems and practices that we have in place.

Michelle Holland:

This is where leaders’ role is really important, particularly in this time because they are the ones that can make good decisions. They are the ones that can allow their people to be more innovative now. This is the perfect opportunity to start looking at all of those little things that are getting in the way of you having a great culture. These are the things that are standing in your way for being effective. The communication methodology that we’re having to use now has got to be much, much stronger, much clearer. We talk about clear as kind, we have to be really clear if we’ve got a more limited access to people because we’re not just walking by them in the corridor, or we go, “Oh I just to talk to Sam,” because there’s Sam, he’s standing in the lunch room. We’re actually having to go, “Okay, I need to talk to Sam. Sam is potentially at home or wherever Sam is and I need to call Sam now and arrange a time to have that conversation.” There’s a lot more need for planning, a lot more effectiveness that needs to happen in that.

Michelle Holland:

So leaders can actually start gathering a lot of information through this period of time of what’s making my team more effective? What are the things that are holding us back? What are the things that we could do and are doing differently? What does my team need from me as a leader? That’s probably the essential question right now, and in this-

Daniel Franco:

In a virtual world, almost.

Michelle Holland:

In a virtual world, what do my team need? How can I stay connected with them? And as a leader, you don’t have to come up with that all yourself. You talk to your peers, you talk to your people. The best thing you can do as a leader is say, “Hey, how do you want me to communicate with you during this time? Is it via Zoom? Is it via text? You want me to check in once a day? Do you want me to… What do you want? What do you need from me? What can I do to make your life easier during this time?” So that’s one way as far as working is concerned.

Michelle Holland:

The other aspect right now is there is a huge amount of fear and grief that people are going through right now, and as a leader we have to be really, really conscious of that. We have people who are… From not being able to go to a play that they wanted to go to…

Daniel Franco:

School of Rock.

Michelle Holland:

To School of Rock, yeah.

Daniel Franco:

You’ve been [crosstalk 00:25:31]-

Michelle Holland:

Might be a personal thing right now, but anyway. But you know, something like that. Up to-

Daniel Franco:

A wedding.

Michelle Holland:

A wedding. Having to cancel a wedding that’s been planned for the last two or three years.

Daniel Franco:

No one that’s on the weekend that’s going to cancel [crosstalk 00:25:44]-

Michelle Holland:

Absolutely. It’s huge. And that is massive grief for people, real grief. And in these times of crisis, what we can do as well is do what’s called comparative suffering. So we do the whole, “Okay, well I’m losing a wedding, but you’re only losing a wedding. So-and-so lost their dad.” That sort of stuff. Grief is grief. Trauma is trauma. And we have to actually acknowledge that.

Daniel Franco:

You can’t compare the two.

Michelle Holland:

You can’t compare you shouldn’t compare. Grief and empathy and compassion is unlimited. We don’t have to siphon it out in little bits and pieces, so because I’ve given empathy for somebody losing their dad, I don’t have enough empathy left for the person who’s upset because they’re not able to go on their weekend trip away with their kids. That’s still grief. People deal with it in different ways. So as a leader, it’s a real opportunity to be really focused on how are my people responding in this time, not just in a work basis, because we always go to productivity and whatnot, but how are they emotionally dealing with this? I know one of our team just today was saying, “I’m feeling really distracted because I just keep thinking about my friends who might lose their business or my girlfriend who’s interstate right now and how are they going to get back?” It’s that distraction of life going around us where everybody’s being impacted by this. That’s real, and we have an opportunity as leaders to really tap into our compassion, not just our empathy but our compassion in this. The difference between empathy and compassion, compassion is acting-

Daniel Franco:

Explain away. Explain [crosstalk 00:27:27], people on the other line might-

Michelle Holland:

Good point. Good point. So empathy is essentially connecting in with the emotion that the other person is feeling. I’ve felt sadness before so I can connect with you and I can be there for you as you are in sadness. Compassion is the active side of it. I’m going to do something that’s going to help you in that. It’s more of a doing thing. So empathy and compassion are useful in this time. Really, really useful. So I think for me that’s probably the number one for leaders during this time of crisis.

Daniel Franco:

So spinning that to the people who are working within the business and not necessarily in a leadership role. Everyone is a leader in their own right, but not necessarily in a leadership role without direct reports and whatnot. What can these employees do to build their culture, continue to add to their culture, if their manager or leader is focused in other areas? Or they’re just not even in the business? How do they…

Michelle Holland:

Yeah, and this is a thing we face anyway on a day to day basis. Anytime you talk about culture with a business is, “What if my leader doesn’t want to do anything about it? Is it just the leader that can do stuff?” It’s not. We have all got a part to play in making the place that we work enjoyable, effective, customer centric. Getting those great outcomes. It’s all of our job to do that. So culture is not somebody businesses, it’s everybody’s business. So as an employee during this time, the best thing that we can be doing is actually connecting with each other. How can we draw on each other, support each other through this?

Michelle Holland:

Whether it is emotionally, whether it’s, “I know Dan read this book last week on virtual teams, I’m going to actually talk to him about what were the five key takeaways that he had from that virtual team book, because now I’m in the situation. I’m going to draw on my colleague who I know works from home every so often. I’ve not really done it before, but they do it every school holidays. I’m going to draw on them to say, ‘Hey, how do you balance everything? My husband’s now telling me they want me to do the laundry today.’ It’s like, ‘Well no, I’m sorry, but the laundry gets done when the laundry always gets done. Not in the middle of the workday because I’m working.'”

Daniel Franco:

I’ve had a few of those conversations as well. Stop bringing her into this.

Michelle Holland:

Ne, because your wife is awesome. You’re very lucky man. But it’s those different things that… How do you work in a way that’s very different. It might feel very unusual for you, working from home.

Daniel Franco:

Well it’s the disconnection thing for me from an employee.

Michelle Holland:

Disconnection.

Daniel Franco:

I’m thinking of some friends of mine who have been asked to work from home during this time and the comment that was made to me was, “I don’t have really any responsibility. I’m just doing what I need to do, and not really going over and above what I need to do right now. I’m just doing what the business is actually asking for me.” So already in that comment alone, I can see the productivity and innovation and proactiveness being completely decimated purely because this is new. It definitely won’t be this way forever, but right now it’s a problem.

Michelle Holland:

Yeah. Yeah. And that’s the uncertainty coming through. It’s not being clear on how you’re setting clear expectations in this period of time-

Daniel Franco:

Correct, absolutely, so that goes back to the leader setting clear expectations.

Michelle Holland:

Absolutely it does. And then also there’s.. On the the person that’s doing the work is asking for those clear expectations as well. I’m at home because the flip opposite is people working from home and they get up at o’clock in the morning and they start working and they don’t stop until eight or nine o’clock at night. And as a-

Daniel Franco:

Because there’s that guilt, I guess.

Michelle Holland:

Because there’s almost a bit of a guilt. Am I going to be caught out for doing things?

Daniel Franco:

Or to make sure I’m doing the right thing?

Michelle Holland:

That’s right. But you think about if I’m coming to work, I’ve got a commute. I start at nine o’clock, let’s pretend it’s nine o’clock that I start, and I finish at five o’clock, we’ll just pretend that we do a nine five, normal business. And I have a half hour lunch break and then I go and get my coffee at 10:00 and I stand in the lunch room, have a chat, and then I grab a biscuit and then I go in the afternoon and I might go out and grab a donut from the local cafe and might walk down to the coffee shop with my mates to get a coffee, and I walk back in the middle of the day. So by the end of the working day, a traditional working day, it’s probably a two or three hours that’s gone just by chatting about weekends and what was that thing, did you watch the, whatever the latest bachelor show is on, the reality television show of the moment. What handbag the Kardashians have bought on the weekend. It’s all that really important stuff.

Daniel Franco:

And if you are a social person.

Michelle Holland:

Yeah, that’s all part of it.

Daniel Franco:

I remember when I was working in the environment I used to always sit where everyone would always walk because I loved the fact that-

Michelle Holland:

The interaction.

Daniel Franco:

I loved that people put up [crosstalk 00:32:43] four or five hours a day. We won’t get into that.

Michelle Holland:

I do remember having a conversation with one of the people in my team about that.

Daniel Franco:

We won’t go into that, I said.

Michelle Holland:

But it is a good point that there are different kinds of people and they already put their own set of expectations on work. So if leaders aren’t being really clear about what they’re expecting, if they’re more managed on their time rather than their outcomes, working from home is more of a challenge. And we say work from home, it’s actually virtual working is what we’re talking about.

Daniel Franco:

Because you can work from anywhere.

Michelle Holland:

You can remote working from anywhere-

Daniel Franco:

Could be a cafe. Well, not in today’s environment.

Michelle Holland:

That’s why we’re all avoiding cafes as well. Goodness. Actually that’s a point. If you’re listening to this right now, go and buy locally. Go buy from your local fruit and veg place, your local cafe, instead of the big companies. McDonald’s will be okay. They will be okay. But the local cafe might not be during this time if they don’t have people still going in and buying their morning coffee. So think local.

Daniel Franco:

Yeah, it’s really scary-

Michelle Holland:

That’s my community service announcement.

Daniel Franco:

It is, it’s really scary because the local pop up coffee shops and breakfast clubs and all this sort of stuff has been really fantastic of late, and they’re going to suffer. The people not coming in, it’s going to suffer and yeah, it’s an interesting one. We’re going to sort of wrap up in a sec. One question I’m really keen to ask you is right now, you and I are in the same boat, so we’re working through this as best we can, but what’s one piece of advice that you could give business owners, directors, board members, all the like during this time? What is one piece of advice?

Michelle Holland:

If you think you’re communicating enough, double it.

Daniel Franco:

Double it.

Michelle Holland:

Double it. Yeah, absolutely. In this time, if you’re talking to your staff members three times a day, double up to six times a day. People need to stay connected, they need information, and the uncertainty will unravel you before anything else will. You might not be able to answer all the questions, but at the very least that provides certainty that you are in the same boat.

Daniel Franco:

Does that promote… Oh sorry, that’s distraction though. The more you get… So the leader, I guess, or business owners might feel, “I don’t want to bother them too much because I don’t want to distract them.” So you’re actually saying that that is not a distraction?

Michelle Holland:

If you are connecting with people and having an hour conversation every three hours, that’s a problem.

Daniel Franco:

Correct.

Michelle Holland:

That’s a problem anyway. I’m talking about if… Send a text message, send a quick email, do a quick video conference with your team, 15 minutes in the afternoon. You can find different ways of being able to connect with people without it becoming a big distraction, but absolutely. And when I said double it, it’s usually because people do maybe once a day or not even. It might be get to the end of the week and they go, “I should check in with Jack because Jack’s been at home for the week. Maybe I’ll check in on Friday with Jack.” Maybe check in on Tuesday and Thursday and Friday with Jack, just to make sure Jack is actually okay. And just connecting. So this could actually breed some really good communication habits as well because if they’re in the workplace and you check in with them on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, that’s probably a good thing to keep going with anyway.

Daniel Franco:

Brilliant. Unfortunately the circumstances that have created this podcast haven’t been that great, I guess. However, there is a real importance to continue working, building on the culture within businesses and really, like you said, communication, keeping communication with your people through this time to reduce that uncertainty and fear to an element, I guess. It’s nothing that can be completely reduced, but it’s been really great advice, I believe that you… And there’s some great comments from you, so thank you very much.

Michelle Holland:

Thank you. I think there’s a quote that I’ll leave you with. It’s by George Bernard Shaw, which is the myth about communication. The biggest myth about communication is that it actually happens. Communicate, communicate, communicate. In this period of time, just back to basics.

Daniel Franco:

Yeah, it’s critical. Thank you very much, Michelle.

Michelle Holland:

Thank you, Daniel. Good luck everybody out there. Happy travels.

Daniel Franco:

Don’t give up. There’s a lot at the end of this. We’ve seen it before.

Michelle Holland:

Absolutely. Stay in it together. We’re in it together. Global community nowadays. That’s where we’re at. That should be where we stay.

Daniel Franco:

Thank you.

Michelle Holland:

Thank you.

 Outro:

Thank you once again for joining us here at Creating Synergy. It’s been great spending this time with you. Please jump onto the SynergyIQ Facebook page where the discussion continues after the show. Join our mailing list so you’ll know what’s happening next at synergyiq.com.au. And of course, don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast and if you really enjoyed it, please share it with your friends.

Meet our Host

Daniel Franco

Daniel Franco

Daniel has a passion to help people shift their lives and businesses to another level, regardless of their current success. His pure enthusiasm and joy for creating long lasting relationships is paramount to the success of our Clients and SynergyIQ.

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