Wendy Bartlett: 'Change can be difficult, but it can also be a force for good'
Let's bravely embrace the changes we all face together, says Wendy Bartlett.
One thing we have all experienced and learned about this year is change. It is happening regardless of what we may personally want, like, or need, so we have no choice but to deal with it, tough as it is at this moment. Change can be difficult, but we should also remember that it can also be a force for good.
After this Covid period, I believe we will look back and see as many good things from it as we see bad – we are an optimistic bunch, fundamentally.
I've personally always loved change, as the Bartlett Mitchell family know and will attest to. I genuinely believe that it's good for us to be challenged; it's good for personal growth and creates an element of discussion which is important to keep businesses moving and staying fresh.
I welcome change in most situations (except when ordering a pizza or curry). It's important for growth.
I welcome change in most situations (except when ordering a pizza or curry). It's important for growth
As you may have read this week, I was fortunate enough to join with a strong brand who bought the Bartlett Mitchell business from me.
As one of my team wrote to me, we were a small and lovely boat coping in the rough sea, now we've been picked up by a big yacht to help us through, and that will inevitably mean change.
But change is not what I worry about – it's what I relish and what I see is all that is possible now for the team.
Change isn't something we should be scared of; it's only scary if you don't see those positives and opportunities and see fear.
It's easy for us to think that what we have been doing is right and the best thing to do; however, you always have to adapt, develop, work out the kinks and risk creating new ones to keep moving forward.
Saying that, you also have to recognise that change for most people can be stressful, and that their personal and work circumstances will impact how they feel about it. People will want to know "what's in it for me?" Our policy has always been to be open and honest (it's one of our ‘Foodies' values and fundamental to our business). Fear is created where there is an unknown, so even if all you can to do help create certainty is admit "we don't know the answer either", then that's OK. You all don't know together.
That's where the clarity of the message is vital.
We are all changing and we need to ensure that our teams know what's happening. As this drags on, keep the energy up by engaging with your team. Some are at work, some are at home, so being mindful of that predicament or the unknown baggage that everyone may be carrying will determine how they see the change is about them and to them personally.
We can all go through change, but our teams need to be taken on the journey, too. In these times, the greatest gift we can all give is to be kind.
From a business perspective, one of the things change will bring about for me is the ability to really focus on what makes Bartlett Mitchell different and how we can capture that. We want to continue to develop Bartlett Mitchell into a supreme brand that continues to innovate.
This is an opportunity for us and there will be opportunities out there for all, as long as you look for them. We should realise that, when we look back in five years' time, this event and its impact will have a place, but what really mattered in the end was health and wellbeing. It's all about perspective.
So just take a deep breath, know that all the changes are something we are all going through. You will probably say, wow, how did I get through that? But you did.
We will get through this together as an industry, and see how it helped to facilitate powerful change.
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