What a beautiful weekend! On Saturday evening we sat in our garden illuminated by a moon that truly glowed. The surface was so distinct, it was as if there was nothing between us and the moon.
Today (Sunday) we have just come back from a long bike ride, cycling through the villages of north Bedfordshire. Quintessential England – a rolling rural landscape of fields not yet turning brown, interspersed with copses and little woods bursting with green and life, truly photosynthesis in action. But, as we discussed with the friends we were cycling with, it was like looking through polaroid sunglasses, the actinic light, the vivid brightness of the colours, the clarity is something I haven’t seen since childhood.
As we cycled, I thought about clarity – clarity of vision, clarity of thinking. The coming months are going to throw new challenges at all of us, what can we take from this clarity to help us focus?
So, let me expand this analogy. Cycling is something I have done all my life. Cycling as a child with my family, cycling as a teenager to get to choir practice (and sometimes, surreptitiously, to meet a potential boyfriend), cycling as a nurse in Cambridge to get to work, cycling to get to the yard where I kept horses in my 20s, cycling with my sons - cycling is not new to me. Yet in the last 8 weeks, I have started cycling for pleasure, simply to get out of town and into nature, to keep fit. My relationship with cycling has changed, and I now recognise absolutely the physical and psychological benefits it brings and the delight of the conversations that are possible when cycling is shared with friends.
Why is this thought process useful? It is the parallels that have got me thinking: I have been in business for many years, successfully running and selling an aesthetic practice in the 1990s and early 2000s; working in sales, training and management for aesthetic suppliers; and I am a nurse who has had a fascination for all things skin since my days as a staff nurse on a dermatology ward in the 1980s. Now, in the unique situation we find ourselves in, it is time to lean on my experiences, to draw inspiration from previous mistakes, challenges and successes (yes, in that order), to work collaboratively with our management team to ensure that not only the team here at AestheticSource comes through this stronger and better, but that we support our clinic and salon partners to do exactly that too.
To best help others, I need to think with clarity. To plan for what will best help us all. To read and understand: the new rules for us as a distribution business with the safety of office, field and warehouse roles to be aware of; the government support for businesses and people; when and where our customers can trade etc etc..
So, how has a clarity of vision informed me? What are my tips for this week?
- Whatever your business looks like, your team are your most important asset. Always. Now is the time to make sure you know what your strategy is and to start to openly discuss it with them This is not going to be an absolute science, but open and frank conversation now is key. Some will want to come back as soon as possible because they need the human connection of working in teams, some will be terrified to leave the safety of their homes.
- In whatever form your business will open up, get yourselves prepared this week. Whether it is office space, clinical space or warehouse space, could you stand in front of a barrister and confidently defend any choices you have made around staff, visitor and customer safety? What evidence (yes, I mean advice really, but ‘advice’ you could reference if required so to do) is there available – PHE, JCCP, BACN, BCAM, NMC, GMC, GDC, BABTAC, FSB, .gov websites, etc etc….
- Be kind. However you approach this, you are doing it for the first time. Be forgiving of yourself. You cannot second guess every step. There is no COVID-19 handbook written with hindsight that you can have delivered by Amazon tomorrow. No doubt there will be many such books in the months ahead, but hindsight is what it is. No-one can have it in this scenario.
As always, I wish you all luck, do reach out to me if you want to talk through any ideas, and most of all, stay safe and stay well.