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Posted on Tue 9 Jun 2020


Business heroes need not apply

This is Part Two of a series of four blogs Gill Wildman is writing for the Studio. Gill Wildman is Business Development Adviser for Watershed and SWCTN

c/o Gill Wildman

c/o Gill Wildman

The last few weeks of being under lockdown has really highlighted how business and business thinkers can speak rubbish.

A couple of examples to back up this statement:

  • the amount of cliches that are being used, to introduce or barely hide some business-as-usual direct marketing approach from companies who want to sell you the same thing they were selling you before as if it is what you need right now. This approach to consumption feels so crass and distasteful. Hopefully someone is telling them right now that this kind of Covid-care-washing does (and will) not work whilst we are in this situation.
  • hyper-confident gurus and experts of business telling you how you should do it ‘this is the way, learn from my experience to find out how you can do it too’. This also feels massively out of touch.

Let’s stay with the second for a moment. You know as well as I do that this specific moment in time is unpredictable, uncertain and we are without a guide. As a result, the ‘5 steps to business growth success’,‘my 10-week method’, book, model or path just don’t sound as if they will cut it — because the business context for what they did back then has gone. Neither is it coming back any time soon. At least, not in that form.

Those business gurus who made it big with the benefits of luck and money won’t understand how to work in the hard times, when things go wrong: those moments when we learn so much. Someone who rose to fame on the back of being in the right place in a time of growth with access to an existing talented team  is not in a position to advise people who build a business up from scratch, and are now having to let people go because they are facing a cliff edge oas all activity has stopped overnight and they do not have a safety net. They don’t know that hardship, and without that understanding they cannot bring their crisis game.

What we need right now are the kinds of people who are willing to tell true stories about how we get businesses out of dangerous ground. Those who know what to do when your business runs out of work in a blink of an eye. Those who, even when budgets are tightest know how to insist on active inclusion. Who know how to respectfully get brilliant yet fearful people motivated to work towards an unknown new era of the business. And most of all, how to manage yourself when you are so scared and everything feels beyond you. That’s what we need to hear. Real stories of resilience.

We have been asking people in business to come and share their real stories about how we can navigate these turbulent times. So far we have had some exceptional people talk to us about this. If you would like to share yours, please contact me at Watershed at: gill.w@watershed.co.uk