Right now, our wonderful community is working from home, with everyone isolated from their work buddies and peers.
We believe that right now we all need all the support we can get. As we find ourselves unable to grab that coffee or glass of wine with peers and discuss how others are navigating this crisis, we are naturally at risk of feeling detached. So, we decided to reach out to some of your peers on your behalf to ask them a few key questions that we felt you all might be interested in. We know that at the moment the most important thing is to remain authentic in who you are and what you offer. What we have always offered is simple: connection.
Despite the fact that this is an unprecedented global crisis and is a foreign and an overwhelming situation for all of us, some of our more senior leaders have experienced global economic challenges in the past, have used the opportunity to adapt, pivot and grow and have remained standing. From chatting with our candidates, it is clear that, unlike some of our more senior folk, our younger practitioners have never been presented with these global challenges in their professional lives.
So, in the spirit of helping those around us and cultivating hope, let’s share, learn and support each other until we’re all back at our desks - guns blazing.
We asked Darrell Wright, Managing Director of Cognito Media to share his advice on how he is managing the current situation with his business and team.
What do you feel you have done in your career to date that is now paying off and helping you pivot to working remotely?
During my career I have always been a fervent supporter of building strong relationships, growing my network and keeping informed on the geopolitical and business environment. These things are now helping me as I am able to call upon dozens of people that I have worked with during the last 15 or more years and engage in very useful conversations about their view of markets and their business needs. This has helped Cognito to continue to advise our clients effectively and remain a vital partner to them as they try to navigate a challenging situation. In addition, we have been lucky enough to continue to win business, particularly focused on our views around presenting effectively online and gearing up with companies both inbound and outbound from China. Being across the geopolitical, markets, finance and comms industry updates has also massively helped me to advise our clients on what they need to do now and in the coming months in the region.
How are you managing your day now and how is it different to your day in the office? What would your advice to managers be to protect a team culture and morale?
The only major difference is that I am spending much less time in taxis, lifts, coffee shops and meeting rooms. This is quite hard for someone who is so accustomed to meeting people as part of their everyday life, but I have adapted now. One piece of advice to managers is to protect team culture and morale by making yourself available to all staff at any time and by continuing to communicate more openly than ever before. Also, if you can, take time out to try to have some light-hearted moments with the team, this can really help to relieve the pressure/boredom/isolation. On a recent virtual happy hour with the team, we had an icebreaker session where we asked non-work related questions about themselves. It was a great way to open up the conversation and get everyone chatting as if we had just headed to the pub for a drink after work.
What do we each individually need to be doing to help our firms thrive in this climate?
We all have a small part to play in what has become the greatest humanitarian effort in history. If we can stay strong and resilient, and encourage others in your firm to act the same, there is a greater chance that you will come out of the crisis on a positive note. You need to remain flexible and nimble for and within your team and you must go above and beyond for your clients now more than ever. Tear up the rule book, because the rules are changing.
What are you grateful for? My health and that of my loved ones and colleagues, my living space and my job. And also, despite some governments making some errors in the response to Covid 19, I am grateful that most have done the right thing medically, socially and financially. God forbid what would be happening if social distancing and mass testing was not occurring on a vast, global scale.