Musings from the COVID-19 Lockdown Season

Days roll into weeks and the weeks swing by. It’s all so surreal – Listening to the news and the deaths around the world, I’m asking myself, how did we get here? In Lagos, Nigeria where I am currently based, we’ve had 5 weeks of lockdown and currently have a curfew from 8 pm to 6 am.

When it started in China, it seemed far away and we thought it would go away like bird flu, SARS and all others did. Unfortunately, it became more real as Europe started getting infected, then the US, Canada, Nigeria, and countries started shutting their borders.

Despite all the technology and advancement in medicine, it’s ironic that we don’t seem to have a solution for this invisible virus that is ravaging the earth and bringing the world to a standstill,  an unseen enemy we are all hiding from!

It’s a rude wakeup call to think for the first time, we have no one, nor government across the world to look up to. The best we can do now is stay safe, stay at home, pray, and hope things will turn around quickly. Our sense of security or self-reliance as a human race is eroded. I believe we are humbled and world leaders, in particular, must be frustrated.

It is a time to RESET in all areas and there are lessons to be learned in several facets of life. Some that readily come to mind are:

Our frailty – It exposes our frailty as humans. Regardless of the speed, knowledge, and advancement in technology and its various applications, we are still vulnerable and suddenly, we realize we must accept the fact that we don’t know it all.

When countries that have all the military power and technologies are struggling with controlling the pandemic, then we need to know for sure that there is a force beyond us on earth. We must recognize that we are not in absolute control and there is a God greater than humanity.

The Simplicity of life: – we have made life complex – always on the go, dashing back and forth, heavy work schedules, attending events, sometimes extremely ostentatious, little family time, and hardly taking time out to rest. We’re now left with no other choice but to go back to the basics – stay in our homes, bond with our families, and do the best we can with the tools that we have. No parties, no rushing to the office, no social or religious gathering.

It’s interesting how this now makes one realise that maybe some of those things we did and considered important are not so important after all. It’s time to declutter our minds of the unimportant, change our attitudes, give away as much as we can, and simplify our lives. 

The Vanity of life – Vanity upon vanity all is vanity. All those material possessions, what can we do with them now? The exotic cars, fancy 2nd, 3rd homes, the clothes, shoes, and matching accessories, what can they avail us in this pandemic?  It is time to prioritize our lives, focus on the things that matter.

One cannot help but wonder, in the evening of one’s life what will be most important? Over two hundred thousand people have died across the world and still counting; it is obvious that these things hold no eternal value and they fade in comparison to death.  

We were all home for weeks, our clothes, shoes, and accessories were all in our closets. We couldn’t wear them out, we still can’t go for any event, we can’t drive our cars out later than 8pm, and then there is the issue of rising insecurity in several parts of the country. We can’t travel to take a break, no flights, unthinkable!

It is most definitely a call to redefine our lifestyle. We need to reflect and begin to operate from a different mindset- a paradigm shift. All these possessions will grow old, lose value and fade away, but our relationships are forever –family, friends, colleagues, and of course with God. Our time on earth is limited. Let’s make it count.

A time to redefine our priorities – More than ever, there is an urgency to find one’s purpose, define priorities, and begin to work passionately at fulfilling one’s purpose. As we apply ourselves to our everyday tasks, we should prioritize and ensure that it’s the important things of life that we place a priority on.

We should be more deliberate about impacting lives, having good relationships, being a blessing through our work, and generally making the world a better place.

A time to be introspective – reflect on our lives, lifestyles, and interests. What aspects of our lives need to be changed? what do we need to improve? what can we learn from what’s going on? what is the message to us and the world at large? What’s our relationship with God like?

We need to ask ourselves these questions and more so that we can make the necessary changes and come out on top.  It’s a time for personal growth.  

A time of renewal – This is a time to renew our minds, renew relationships, forgive and make amends. Did any of the people that died or those that were on the verge of death but recovered imagine they would go through such an experience? 

I am sure given another chance, some would realise that the things they held on to are not important, while good relationships, the right attitude, being a blessing to someone are more important.

A time to learn and be creative – What new skills can you learn, what classes can you take, particularly in the Digital space? How about health and wellness? How can you keep up with work tools being used today? Can you take advantage of the free classes being offered online?

All those things that you have wanted to do, to write, to learn, new interests to pursue, hobbies, diet, and exercise – now is a good time to start; roll up your sleeves and give them a shot.

A time to get those nagging tasks done – A time to get things we have left on the back burner done. Break them into small tasks, do a little a day. Write down the tasks, schedule them, and if need be, get an accountability partner, to prevent procrastination. Don’t forget to reward yourself after achieving milestones.

A time to connect – More than ever, technology has been a saving grace in this season. It’s the only way we can connect.  Many people are filled with fear and some are lonely, so it’s important we call each other and connect. 

Let’s call friends and family across the world, arrange non-work online meetings. It can be fun and good therapy. It’s amazing how one’s spirit is lifted from a call or a group forum.

Give Back Time – This is also a time to be kind to people in need, particularly those that are more vulnerable in our society and help meet their needs – a call, a gift, food, care for them. Little drops make an ocean, even reaching out to a friend in need, calling someone to check on them all add up. Let’s all rise and do something in our circle of influence and beyond

As we pray for and anticipate the end of the coronavirus, and a revamp of the economy, we need to be thoughtful and deliberate about our actions. We shouldn’t just get back on the fast lane, having been forced to apply brakes, we have had time to reflect and reset,  we should not go back to our old ways but begin to place a priority on the important things in life.

We need to build quality relationships,  be sensitive to the needs of others, always be ready to lend a helping hand, learn to live simple lives without layers of gold and look at life from a new lens.

It is important to remember that we are only here temporarily, we should, therefore, strive to leave a legacy that will outlive us, influence our generation and future generations.

Digital Technology: The Connector and Game-changer

In a world filled with so many technological innovations, it seems unfathomable that a virus (COVID-19), invisible to the eye, would cause so much havoc and destruction, literally bringing economies across the world to a sudden halt.

Countries across the world have been locked down for months and Digital communications have come to the fore with virtual meetings, E-commerce, E-communications (Email, Social Media, Television, etc.) becoming the primary way to connect. 

Unexpectedly, millions of people are finding themselves communicating via Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and other virtual meetings and collaboration tools.  Large E-commerce companies are overwhelmed, and many small businesses are scrambling to have their e-commerce channels up.

We have been forcefully thrown into a fast-tracked digital economy with technology as the connector holding the world together at this time and enabling us to connect and exchange information.

This is a wake-up call for many organizations. Whether consciously or unconsciously, organizations are on some digital journey, and than ever before, they must consider their digital state and what stage they are on their digital journey.

Some have been deliberate, leveraging technology to drive value and remain competitive while playing in new innovative spaces. Others have moved rather slowly with no clear path or strategy to guarantee them wins in these times; deliberate steps need to be taken to achieve goals, leverage technology maximally and seize opportunities especially at this time.

It has been said that failing to plan is planning to fail. In the same vein, failing to integrate technology tools is a recipe for lagging and a precursor to extinction in a highly competitive and disruptive market.

The importance of making technology work for one’s needs cannot be overemphasized; there needs to be clarity in the direction of organizational growth with clearly defined goals which should take leveraging technology into cognizant.

Digital Transformation in its simplest form is the continuous process of integrating digital technology across an organization to deliver value to both its customers, the organization, and other key stakeholders.  It is a process that gradually transforms the organization, both in its products, services, customer experience, corporate culture, and other key parameters. It requires a paradigm shift from the old to the new.

In the past, the IT department’s focus was on delivering efficiency in operational processes and improving the bottom line. However, with all the new technologies (Big Data, IoT, Block Chain, AI etc.) and smart devices, the focus has moved beyond efficiency to delivering value. 

If one considers that the Technology giants like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and their impact in the world, then it becomes even clearer that technology is the engine of today’s world and the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) has taken us into a new dimension of doing business.

Digital Transformation means different things to different people depending on the industry, organization, business unit, and people among other factors. It is like looking at an elephant and seeing it from different perspectives, a unique journey for each organization.

There tends to be a misconception that Digital Transformation is all about engaging the customer with a compelling and engaging online presence. However, it is much more than this.

There are three primary sides to Digital Transformation: The Internal Processes, the external processes (customer-facing/ supplier /external stakeholders) and the Products / Services. One needs to be able to derive value in operations, develop innovative products and services and strive for excellent customer experiences

In embarking on a Digital Transformation Journey, questions one needs to consider are:

  1. Where are we on our Digital journey?
  2. What systems do we have in place?
  3. What tools are we using now?
  4. How can we use technology to derive more business value?
  5. Are there new innovative or enhanced products we could take to the market?
  6. How can we engage our customers better and make their experience seamless and more pleasant?
  7. What is our competition doing?

In determining the organization’s strategy, technology should be taken into consideration and the Technology’s department leadership needs to be part of the process. This has to be a collaborative effort that will have the buy-in and be led by organizational leaders.  

Achieving success will require a projectized holistic approach, carrying the different business units along and meeting needs as required while ensuring that goals are met.

In creating value, one must think out of the box and set up cross-functional, high performing agile teams that will ask the right questions.

To successfully navigate the Digital Transformation journey, the organization will need to consider the following:

  1. Commit to wanting to use technology to take the organization to a new level of success. This commitment has to come from leadership
  2. Decide what value you want to deliver – in line with the Corporate vision, goals and objectives. Technology cannot be used just for the sake of using it or because it is trending. It needs to deliver specific value
  3. Understand where you are in your Digital Journey. There needs to be an Assessment of where you are. You need to ask questions like:  are the IT investments delivering value? Are there applications, infrastructure and tools that should be retired or moved to the cloud?
  4. Be creative and innovative and explore using technology to improve your products or create a new market.  Research what competition is doing, especially startups and the risk of being disrupted.
  5. Explore how you can engage your customers better and make their experience seamless and more pleasant.

Based on the outcome of the above exercise, a Digital Strategy plan and a Road Map can be developed. A suitable Digital Transformation framework should also be identified as this will be used for implementation.  The choice of a framework will depend on several factors including the organization, the industry and the objective of the transformational effort.

As organizations begin to seek the way forward, defining where they are, their desired playing field, and a plan to get there is crucial.  Developing and implementing a practical Digital Transformation plan will set one on the right path and ultimately towards becoming more competitive in an increasingly digital world. 

Since the COVID-19 crisis has suddenly transitioned many organizations into the Digital Space, it has become imperative to integrate the right digital technologies into one’s business so that one will not only survive in these turbulent times but transform into an organization set to excel in the 4IR era.

Navigating The Unknown With Resilience, Innovation and Agility

Navigating The Unknown With Resilience, Innovation and Agility

The world has suddenly been plunged into an unforeseen crisis. When it started to pan out in China in December 2019, it seemed far away and remote, and many of us were relatively confident that it would be contained just as it was with Bird Flu, SARS and Ebola. little did we know that most countries, particularly the advanced ones, were ill-prepared for a pandemic and that the kind of devastation being experienced across the world could happen.

We are where we are today, and we begin to ask how do we move from here to there?  As business owners our first thought is how to ride through this, and not only survive but come out strong.

More than ever, this is the time to be Resilient, Innovative and Agile.

Resilience is having the ability and capacity to go through a difficult situation and come out strong.  To survive in this time, you need to be resilient.   

Being Agile is possessing the ability to adapt to change quickly, take decisions, implement them and understand that failure is part of the process. It is also a time to come up with innovative solutions to move ahead.

At a time when there is so much uncertainty, no one seems to have a firm grasp of  what is going on, you have to lead with what you have as well as your instincts , you will have to keep forging ahead and be willing to change. 

A resilient and agile mindset, asking questions and working through the answers will help you navigate through this period.  Below are six things you can do:

Be Positive, Do Not Panic – we are all in this together and panic is the last thing you want to do. It’s affecting the whole world but one way or the other we will get through it. It’s tough, but we are still here and therefore, we have hope for a better tomorrow. It is time to roll up our sleeves, put on our “out-of-the-box” thinking cap and begin to make changes.

Remember, when the going gets tough the tough get going -Do not let fear in as that could paralyze you. You can listen to the news to get just enough information to know how to move forward.

Do not dwell on the negative, look at the pandemic with a holistic approach – it’s global, there are 7 billion people on earth, solutions are coming in at a fast rate, social distancing and testing are working, more people are recovering than dying,  we will make it, we will survive and thrive at the end of this.

Set up a Crisis Management Team   – In a time of crisis, you need a group that will drive your business response to the events. This could be a small group comprising of 2 -10 people, depending on the size of your business.  The first thing is to look at is Business Continuity. If you have a business continuity plan, it’s time to pull it out and implement the relevant aspects of the plan.

However, the plan may not cover some of the issues presented by the pandemic as most likely this type of crisis was not considered.  Whether you have an existing plan or not, you need to ask questions.

The key questions here are focused on customers and employees, without whom there will be no business.

How can you continue to operate during this shutdown?  

What key products and services have been affected?

How are your customers affected?

Are you still able to provide services expected to your customers?

Do you have the right infrastructure to see you through this period?

Do you need to move some assets and investments around?  

How are your employees faring?  

What can you do to help with their well-being, safety, and other needs?

Do you have the tools for them to work from home?   

What is your financial state?

Where do you need to cut costs?

Do you operate a lean model temporarily?

What services can go remote?  

Through this exercise, you will be able to quickly identify some key steps you need to take and define the action steps and assign responsibility. You also need to identify some key parameters that are fundamental to your business survival and ensure you review them consistently throughout this period.

Set up an Innovation team – This is the time to think out-of-the-box – either by innovating existing services or creating new ones. Stay at home, Social Distancing etc. have resulted in much wider use of technology.

Review your products and services and determine the direction you need to go in being innovative:

What products or services have been impacted?

Is there a service you can still offer your clients remotely?

How can you leverage technology in these times?

Ask – If I were to change my service / delivery model and make it more technology-oriented, how would that help?  In your industry what are the essential needs?

Do you have products or infrastructure that can help meet certain needs in high demand due to the pandemic? For example, some factories have dropped their core products and started producing face masks and ventilators. Some grocery stores, restaurants, and other retailers have quickly strengthened their Ecommerce models so that customers’ needs can still be met through online purchases.   

Review your strategy for the year – In the context of this pandemic what is relevant? What does not make sense anymore? Which services can you continue to provide? What needs to go to the cooler for now. Do a SWOT (Strength Weakness Opportunities Threat) analysis in this VUCA (Vulnerable Uncertain Complex Agile) time. 

How can you move through the year and be relevant and thrive beyond the now? Tweak, revise and adapt to be more relevant today. Remember you must have an agile mindset and be ready to adapt continuously as the economic environment continues to change.

Read, Learn and Share – Knowledge at this time of ambiguity and so many unknowns help. Join discussion groups, read articles, attend Webinars and share your knowledge as well. One mustn’t fill oneself with negative things, only solutions and things that will help your business and others move forward.

Collaborate, Get involved and Give – If you are a small business or a large one, this is the time to collaborate with other organisations or someone else in your industry or related business. Two are stronger than one. Explore collaboration to deliver a service or product.

Is there anything you can give back to customers, frontline health or essential services companies/workers or even the vulnerable in our society?  This calls for joint efforts and seeks opportunities to collaborate with other organisations to make you stronger – educate others and give back.

This is an unprecedented crisis. Even though the Spanish flu pandemic occurred in 1918, one would not imagine that a century later, with all the technological advancements, the world would be unprepared for another pandemic. The possibility seemed so remote and we didn’t pay adequate attention across the world.

However, we are in this now and we need to forge ahead. No one has all the answers, no one has been there, everyone is predicting the future partly from past events like the 2018 recession, 9/11, and scientific models. These, however, are only part of the equation.

Therefore, we all have an opportunity to be part of the solution. Ask yourself what tools and resources you currently have, what you can learn from what is going on; put these together, look inwards, trust your instincts, be ready to take risks to navigate through these uncharted waters.

You must remember that if you fail, you should fail fast (don’t stay there), look for ways to improve and try again, because failure is the path that will ultimately yield success.

I believe this pandemic is an opportunity for everyone to be more innovative, creative, adapt to change quickly, be more sensitive to the needs of others, be generous, and ultimately come out stronger and together we can make the world a better place.

HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT FOR NON-HR PROFESSIONALS

 

HR for Non-Hr Professionals

INTRODUCTION:

The human resource function requires a strategic and comprehensive approach to managing and developing people, organizational culture and the working environment. Human resource management deals with recruitment, training and development, performance, motivation and communication. Line managers should be able to carry out these functions within their respective teams and thereby assisting to ensure a smooth running of the organization.

Our Human Resource for Non-HR professional course is designed to equip line managers and supervisors with the skills and knowledge needed to carry out human resource functions effectively.

COURSE OUTLINE

  • Human resource management and the organization.
  • Human resource planning and forecasting.
  • Recruitment and selection.
  • Employee orientation.
  • Working with external providers.
  • Training and development.
  • Performance Appraisals.

Target Audience:

  1. Business owners
  2. Line managers
  3. Supervisors

Course Benefit:

At the end of this program, the participants would be able to

  • Appreciate the key functions of Human Resource Management.
  • Understand the rudiments of Recruitment and Selection.
  • Know the benefit of maintaining a healthy employee relations
  • Identify and use proficiently an effective performance appraisal
  • Understand the functions of training and development and its importance to the organization.

Program Details

Date:            12th and 13th April 2016

Venue:         42, Balarabe Musa Crescent

Off Samuel Manuwa

Victoria Island

Time:            9am – 5pm

Training Fee:  N75,000.00 (Seventy Five Thousand Naira Only)

Discounts are available for early birds.

For enquiries, please contact us on info@workplacecentre.com or call us on +234 1-342-7904