And as much I love and embrace change, I'm also feeling the anxiety which is being created by the unknown future ahead of us, the many changes each day and the impact of those changes on our work and personal lives; as well as the media heightened language which is constant.
But we have a few choices still left entirely up to us, and the main one is how we react. We can choose to continually react to each and every piece of information thrown at us, via reliable (and unreliable) sources on TV, social media as well as hearsay.Or we can stop and take a breath, and calmly see what we can do to minimise the impact on ourselves, our family, our team and our business.
I understand how hard it is to do this – being proactive is always harder to do than being reactive – but if any time calls for this reaction, I believe it is now.
We also need to acknowledge some givens:
• 2020 will now be very different
• This will be a hard year for everyone but we will get through it
• We don't know the impact of this virus as yet, but we know many people will get it, to some degree, over the next few months
• Things will change and for the short term – probably every 2 or 3 days
• Opportunities do arise out of challenging times
• We need to stick together – as a business, as a team and as a sector – so we all come out together on the other side.
I feel most people, especially those running RTOs, are struggling with overwhelm and information overload. So my pledge to you, at least for the immediate future, is to use my weekly blog as a way to give you some practical and simple strategies to get you and your RTO business through these challenging times.
So this week's blog (and it is a bit long) is to provide an overview of 12 simple strategies to help you navigate the new 2020. If we can consciously action these strategies each and every day, I believe it will help the long term viability of our businesses, as well as the mental health of our people which are my highest concerns.12 Simple Strategies To Help RTOs To Start Navigating The New 2020
- Catch Up
- Continuity FOCUS
OPPORTUNITY (the 3 Cs)
As strange as it sounds, out of challenging times comes opportunity. At the moment, it seems many RTOs will be reducing or shutting down face to face training, and if this can't be moved to some form of online delivery, then many of your team may not have work to do (or so you think).
Downtime is the best time to invest in developing, streamlining and improving your systems.
Granted, it's not the most exciting thing to talk about but if you have staff unable to perform their normal work duties, then this is the perfect time to capture the knowledge in their heads. That way, your RTO will be in such a better position when you 're-
open for business'.
It's often though hard to know where to start so I suggest a 3 stage process to determine systems to work on first, by whom and when.
Stage 1 Catch Up on outstanding tasks
Stage 2 Consolidate your systems and procedures by documenting the knowledge in people's heads
Stage 3 Continuity of products and services with an understanding they may be different in six months time – be it what they actually are and/or the mode of delivery.
FOCUS (another 3 Cs)
With so much information, confusion and anxiety out there; it's important to get CLEAR on the key priorities so we can all remain calm and focused (as much as possible).
Here's the 3 things you need to embrace so as to stop from reacting to everyone and everything.
1. Clarity about what's important for today and tomorrow, and who's doing what. It's great to have an eye on the priorities for the next week and month, but as that's probably going to change due to circumstances beyond your control, I would focus on getting through today and tomorrow, and then go from there when you definitively know more.
2. Communication to staff and students about what's happening and why. So you don't add to the overwhelm people are feeling, limit your communications (if possible) to once a day or once every few days.
You also want to ensure people are hearing ONE MESSAGE rather than multiple messages from the one organisation. This goes for staff and students.
3. Connection can occur in many different ways. As people are feeling very uncertain about jobs and life, think about how you can keep connecting with your staff and students – either via Zoom, Skype, phonecalls, emails, Slack etc; as well as getting out of your office to walk the floor more regularly.
MAINTAIN (the 3 Fs)
Like most businesses, you still need to keep the RTO going with a 'business as usual/unusual' attitude.
With this in mind, there are 3 key areas to be maintained.
1. Finances by probably throwing your 2020 targets out the window and re-doing them with some additional/different income streams. Now more than ever, it's critical to be on top of your daily financial numbers as you monitor cashflow and expenses.
2. Flexibility in every decision and opportunity which comes your way so I suggest you act as the Tortoise not the Hare to maintain proactivity in your flexibility.
3. Fun definitely needs to be happening in your RTO – if only to keep everyone sane. So how can you bring the FUN into every single day and include everyone in your team, whether they are in the office or working remotely? Maybe it's having a book/TV Show target for those people who are self-isolating, or # hours since something has changed (a different take on # days since an accident in the workplace).