By Fatima Ahmed Saeed Al Naboodah, GM Sustainability - Al Naboodah Group Enterprises
The business world has been presented with its greatest challenge in the form of a pandemic that is driving economies to reassess and adapt to new market dynamics. However, amidst all the chaos there is a silver lining: This pandemic has enabled us for the first time to understand our weaknesses in a clear and evident manner.
Amongst hundreds of guidelines shared by experts, here are 7 lessons that I have personally learned.
LESSON 1: Accept and Embrace Change
Embracing change is an integral part of life for both individuals and organisations alike. As a 62-year-old family owned business that is constantly evolving, the ability to move fast and be responsive to change while maintaining a strong foundation is something we have excelled at. Our very existence relies on us to continually innovate. Let us accept change and take control of what we have power over, whilst keeping an eye out for new opportunities.
LESSON 2: Purpose to Impact
The time spent during the lockdown has enabled us to reflect and refocus, placing us in a position to identify and take advantage of new opportunities. This can be done by asking ourselves who we are, how we operate, and are we true to our values? By remaining true to our values and purpose we can recover, manoeuvre and organise our resources and use them wisely, which is crucial for sustainable growth. Even as we return to “business as usual”, we are constantly reinforcing our foundations by “Preserving Our Heritage and Working for a Sustainable Future.”
LESSON 3: The Future is Smart
At Al Naboodah we believe in innovation for a sustainable future. Relying increasingly on real-time data and technology and, more specifically, innovative online platforms, has helped us to remain connected, productive, efficient and informed. The time has come for us to upgrade and integrate the latest technologies into all our daily processes.
LESSON 4: Realigning Teams & Strength in Collaboration
Our employees are at the core of our business, and the COVID-19 crisis has made us more resilient as human beings, especially when we rely on each other. Our Rapid Response Team was formed early in the crisis, and no matter what department we came from we worked together with a sense of urgency and purpose, relying on each other’s skills to protect the Health and Safety of each and every one of us and ensure business continuity.
LESSON 5: Value Creation: Economic vs. Social
We believe in creating value for all. Throughout the crisis, protecting the health and safety of our employees first has enabled us to remain true to our purpose, which has in turn supported business continuity, thus creating economic value for all, including the communities in which we operate.
LESSON 6: Unlocking the Power of Partnerships
Engaging in meaningful partnerships with our key stakeholders, whether internal (colleagues & departments) or external partnerships between businesses and Government, and utilising the strengths, capabilities and experiences from across different areas of our business ecosystem were strategic moves that enabled us to understand and address complex challenges.
LESSON 7: A New You
The world after COVID-19 will not be the same and neither will you. As we adapt to the new “normal”, know that you are not alone in this, no matter how difficult it gets. Taking care of yourself is important, so stay connected with your friends and colleagues. Enjoying the simple things such as learning a new skill and creating a routine will give you a sense of control and help reduce stress. Most importantly, stay safe and informed, but not alarmed. Once this is all over you will emerge a better, more resilient version of yourself.