Reality Now: Between Denial and Upgrade



- By Alina Zechiu, Senior Partner

CITR Cyprus

1 year after the onset of the health crisis, we increasingly feel the need for a review. Maybe hoping that, with this analysis, we will gain more clarity and thus we will find (more) efficient ways to relate to these times.

We have all already understood that this is primarily a crisis of the individual, due to the multiple psychological implications caused by sudden paradigm shifts.

If at first, we thought that the new status quo will not last, we realized in time that things are more serious than we anticipated.

And, from that moment on we have been divided into at least 2 teams: 1. Those who have chosen to resist change, hoping for a return - even slow - to the well-known reality from before, and 2. Those who, even if deeply affected by the new reality, have decided to accept it and to draw a complete new map of their world.

None of the teams leads an easy battle, but the weapons used by each of them differ significantly. So are the effects of the 2 fighting strategies.

While the first team mourns the current situation and consumes significant energy in trying to stay true to old practices, hoping that they will lead to the same results from the past, the second team is constantly testing its resilience and tending to evolution, while understanding that simple adaptation is no longer enough.

Leaving aside any judgments of value regarding the two approaches, I think it is helpful to look closely at their effects to understand which one of them is a winner in the medium and long term.


  • Plan while you’re playing the Game and Not before


The current reality raises many problems that need to be addressed, and the solutions are found beyond the comfort zone of those who live in it.

What we have noticed in the market during this period is that those companies that have developed over time a culture of change and have thus tested the limits of their teams, are the ones that best respond to current challenges.

At the same time, those companies that relied on a safe model, but always the same, are facing a lack of flexibility that comes first from the fear of trying something new, and which leads to their inability to adapt.

In business, as in life, it is important to evaluate your position periodically, to turn outwards and to reconfigure your strategy, if necessary.

An efficient business plan is built while things are happening, and it constantly adapts to the needs arising from reality.

This principle is explained in a very simple way by the authors of "Rework", two entrepreneurs, founders of an innovative software company. They showed that the best time to draw up an action plan is not before you start working, as happens in most situations, but only after you have started the business project. That's because it is only then when you have the necessary information to help you build a realistic and, therefore, viable plan.

A business is a living organism, which is constantly changing and whose needs change periodically. As such, for it to survive and strive, it is necessary to benefit from proper care, always adjusted to reality.


  • Speak with Honesty


In times of change, transparent communication within the organization is mandatory. The human component of a business is very important and must be treated as such, because people are the essence of change: without them, nothing is possible, and they have a huge contribution to the fate of a business.

This contribution translates into both a privilege and a responsibility for the employees, which is why any action plan must be discussed and communicated with openness and transparency, to be understood and assumed by all those who are part of it.

One can observe that the companies that have embraced change are those that have fully integrated the communication process, being particularly concerned with containing the emotions of their teams. In this sense, employees are encouraged to actively contribute to decision making and implementation. Thus, the goal of the company becomes the common goal of the people in the company and vice versa.

At the opposite end are those organizations in which sensitive information remains at the top management level, as well as the reason for implementing different decisions, the intention being to protect employees, who thus end up not having a clear understanding of the purpose of change and, hence the risk of their lack of involvement.


  • The Good and The Better: Friends but not quite


One thing is certain, namely that the fear of change, respectively the fear of failure - strongly grounded in our cultural model, are surpassed by a stronger one, namely the fear of extinction. And this brings with it panic, fear of action and, as an effect, the cancellation of perspective.

But perspective must be defended at any cost because it is the engine of our lives in general.

Today, more than ever, a good decision made now is more important than a perfect decision made later. In fact, we have learned in the meantime that there is no perfection and that sometimes “Better” is the enemy of “Good”.

Therefore, having a clear purpose and a flexible action plan, that should be constantly reviewed and amended whenever circumstances require, communicating openly and responsibly, involving employees in the decision-making process, building strong relationships, and doing things in the best way possible with the resources available, seems to be a recipe for the times we live in. If not a recipe for a successful business, then definitely a recipe for an honest one, which contributes by itself to a healthy business environment.