Don’t walk out. Work it out.

For the last year and a half, wifey has cut my hair (yes, I still do need the occasional haircut). We had gone out for our Sunday walk and while we were out, got into a bit of an argument. My haircut that was planned when we returned home looked in jeopardy. For a minute I thought to myself… “Fine, I will go and get someone else to do it.” This is an option I did not have a year ago when we were in a closed world. I would have had to think about making friends again instead of heading out in a huff.

This is a metaphor for work and life as the world opens up. It’s easier to say, I am heading out…. Instead of heading into the hard territory of working things through, and having the important conversation that got us back on track. I am happy to report a haircut has been had at home and my little inner world is thankfully at peace again. We worked things out.

I felt the world around me open up a bit in the last few weeks. An offsite that some of my colleagues went on was the first since lockdown life began. My father geared up to go for the annual general meeting of the Ooty Club and the family cautioned him about mask protocol but waved him off and said, have fun.

We have been shut into our homes and our organisations for a while now. Our world in many ways had shrunk. And in other ways, this new smaller world opened our eyes to what’s important and who is important in our lives. As the world opens up again, Options open up and it makes it easier not to work through the hard stuff. Some of us will rush out and others will tentatively begin to explore again. I think this is a perfect time to remind myself to be careful not to shut the door on the near and dear. When one door opens it’s a good reminder not to shut another.

When the going gets tough and you don’t have too many options you work through it and work it out. But when the world is open for business again, at the slightest hint of difficulty the easy option is to go and find someone else to do it. Great partnerships are built on working through the kinks. There are good days and bad ones. When I make the effort to work stuff through, I emerge stronger and more mature on the other side. When I look for easy fixes and quick fixes, I normally find them, but they don’t last.

In lockdown life, we were reminded of the value of those who are near and dear. They were all we had. They were our world. In this closed inner circle, we have made our lives for the last many months. When you know that this is your world, then you have to make it work. The great talent exodus that is being written about says attrition is the next big problem that companies are going to have to navigate. This comes as no surprise. The world is opening up. Options abound.

Something wifey said stuck with me. “I am beginning to enjoy having plants around the house more than cut flowers”. The cut flowers look lovely. They are easy to get if you have the money and the world is open for business. But the joy they bring does not last. A plant on the other hand grows with you. It takes a lot of work. Daily watering, occasional fertilising, and digging to loosen the soil. You also need to move it around to make sure it gets the right amount of sun and shade. And then it grows on you and grows with you. A wonderful way to look at talent management and employee engagement. It is an everyday affair. Tending to their needs, watering and fertilising their environment, being mindful of when they need some sunshine and when a bit of shade is in order. This kind of care and attention is required. Every member of the team has unique needs, if they are recognised and nurtured, and if you do this regularly, watch your garden grow and flourish.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Nikhil Dey
Nikhil Dey is Executive Director, Adfactors PR.

A trusted coaching and communications professional, Nikhil Dey is a certified life and leadership coach (International Coach Federation - ICF). Nurturing talent and helping clients achieve their goals is what makes him happy. He loves learning from students of communication, teaching courses and guest lecturing at various educational institutions. When he is not working you will find him on the tennis court or out for long walks with his family and four legged friends.

Previously he has held senior leadership positions at Weber Shandwick and Genesis BCW.

He can be reached on twitter @deydreaming

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