The 1% Factor

How do small little things, the minutiae, impact us

All we have to do is to think about a small incident – a customer service issue with a company, a job that didn’t work out or even a relationship – that impacted us in a significant way about the way we think of a place, a company or people 

Now – think about the time we have spent at home, in lockdown 

Most of us expect to work between 300 to 400 months in our lives. 

So, 3 months (give or take) is ~1% of our working life

Every HR, business and mental health expert claims that these 3 months will indelible change the way we work

Why? Because small things often impact us in significant ways

  • Actions matter. Outcomes help of course; but even if business took a hit during the last three months… how you responded to the sudden change in work situation and how you engaged with your colleagues, teams and managers will leave an impact. Most managers believe that crisis reveals a lot about the character of their team members. Our actions through this crisis will probably have an overwhelming impact on the trajectory of our careers and work relationships.
  • Experience is relevant only when rate of change is slow. In recent years change has been rapid. In the last three months – a whole slew of social, technological, economic, medical and behavioral changes have suddenly precipitated. A lot of these changes (like AI, ML, collaboration, WFH) were coming anyway – it has all just gone supersonic now. Now… we are all novices at some level as we get back into the new normal, so rate of adaptation and flexibility will be the paramount skill.
  • Comfortable being comfortable. Working at home, in shorts, with the prospect of other family members coming into the camera frame and the possibility of discussions getting disconnected due to the wi-fi failing… are now acceptable. “Enterprise-grade”, slick and polished is not necessary – so most people will dress for their day more often now; and picking up discussions after a call-drop is more than normal.
  • True sharing matters. Mental health is getting the attention it deserves – as celebrity suicides makes news, depression is discussed in mainstream media, employees battle isolation, family members & lovers are torn apart and “long-distance” became a default. Even families that stayed together had to get used to the proximity and were challenged to adjust & accept. Being able to open-up and share candidly is a virtue that has finally found a place in our busy lives.
  • Video is the catalyst. Since motion pictures started, they have captured the imagination of humans. Covid-19 got video out of a forgotten corner of our laptop screen to the front and centre of our lives… in a decisive, irreversible manner. Whether it is Facetime, Zoom, eLearning, eMeetings, virtual roundtables or even eSummits – video is now a viable, pragmatic option. Employees have to get ready to present their real self on video.

In the last 3 months, most of us have probably gone through the 1% of our working and relationship life that is likely to impact the rest of it. 

Each of these 5 transitions are small by themselves – but how we navigate the first few months and years Post Covid with the ones we love, the ones we work with and the ones we serve may well define our career trajectories and relationship graphs.

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

Amit Narayan
Partner & Managing Director, South Asia at Control Risks
Amit manages consultants who design, develop and implement risk-mitigation strategies for companies across South Asia. He has advised clients on political and regulatory risk, pre-investment risk, reputational DD, forensic investigations, public policy and stakeholder mapping. Amit has worked in Edelman in India and Burson-Marsteller in Singapore. He has also worked in-house at Vodafone in Singapore and The Walt Disney Company in Hong Kong.

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