Opportunity in Distress

Updated: Mar 31

[Work From Home Day 8]

Remember the days when we could step out of the house for a grocery run? Or go to the gym for your daily workout? Or go on a school run to drop off the kids? All these mundane tasks which we sometimes dread now seem enticing don’t they? Now we can hardly leave the house without getting negative comments or worse, stopped by the police or the army.


The world is hurting. We are being attacked globally by a virus strain no one thought would have affected us on such a large scale and cause so many deaths in so little time. Who would have thought this evil previously kept locked in the stomach of a wild animal causing a pandemic so huge it has literally brought the world to a standstill? There are many theories behind it, but nobody knows for sure yet.


A month into the dreaded spread of the disease saw a lot more countries being infected and death rates rising to prompt real fear and governments began to make plans to reduce the infection rates. Schools started closing, offices began activating various disaster plans to keep employees safe. The pinch began to be felt by most other businesses including us in the training business. People were keen to get away from one other in an effort to practice social distancing so being in training which most times means being cooped up in a room with another 24 odd people did not seem very feasible anymore.

Due to the slowdown in business and the rising panic, Dale Carnegie Malaysia allowed employees to practice working from home from 16 March. With the office cleared, we wondered how we can make the best of the situation and after some discussion, we realized that the 4th Dale Carnegie principle of Break The Worry Habit Before It Breaks You: Cooperate with Inevitable was perfect to help us weather out the current situation.


First, we implemented a simple checking in policy twice a day. To check on each of us, and to support each other if we are facing any difficulties. We also took this opportunity to connect and re-connect with our clients. Making efforts to check with them on their current situation, sometimes being their sounding board and keeping our hands and ears open for any help we can provide, as friends.


We also conducted and scheduled series of online sessions, whether scheduled LIVE On Line or on-demand webinar with our clients in dual languages to look at the challenges faced by organizations in difficult times like this, such as Handling Stress and Supporting Resilience in Time of Crisis, leading virtual teams, and so on.

Next, we decided to use the extra time we had to focus on innovation. During normal BAU (Business as Usual) days, everyone is too busy to be focusing on anything other than their assigned task. We encourage our employees to think innovatively during this time to simplify processes and come up with better ways to provide for clients. One part we are focusing on is our pre-assessment process by looking at better ways we can match participant’s and superior’s expectations, so our trainings best fit the needs of both parties.


We also began working on putting crucial business operations into Cloud space, such as accounting, file servers, and communications to ensure data is accessible even during trying times like now!


On the domestic front, since gathering at mosques are no longer allowed, my family is taking this opportunity to pray together more frequently. Innovation is also not just limited at the office since kids are not allowed their usual activities with friends, we encourage them to become more creative in finding ways to while away the long hours being locked indoors, by organizing games such as spelling bee, introducing games that they have never played before and encouraging them to come up with their own games.


These are just some of the positivity and opportunities which I managed to identify and hone during this time of distress. Holding on to the 4th Dale Carnegie’s Cultivate a Mental Attitude that Will Bring You Peace and Happiness: Count your blessings – not your troubles and made it as my personal mantra!

What about you guys? How are you coping with the Movement Control Order at home and in your personal life? What innovations have you come up with? Share with us in the comment section below.


MAHMUD HISHAM

Director, Dale Carnegie Malaysia

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