24 September 2020|Business Growth, Crisis Management, Latest Posts, Psychology
By Rosie Tomkins, author of ‘N-stinctive’. The easing of lockdown (even with some adjustments to the restrictions) is clearly a huge relief for startups and growth businesses. However, the ongoing impact of the situation requires all businesses to ask some important questions.
As entrepreneurs you will be very aware of the many positive impacts that technology has had on the development of businesses and on our lives. However, as you reflect on the lockdown experience consider whether our modern way of operating is what we really want. Will it serve us well in the future?
Whatever we decide now will have a long-lasting effect – particularly on our younger generation and the business and political leaders of tomorrow.
In order to make the right choices it is important for entrepreneurs to reconnect with our own natural and intuitive knowledge. Our reliance on “expert advice” is ever present. We have business and leadership models, we follow rules and often observe constraints that no longer serve us, we look to medical technology to heal us and keep us healthy, and we take people management courses.
Although there is a place for this, there is also a downside; even as entrepreneurs we are in danger of losing our initiative and our natural flair and not trusting our own judgement.
The COVID-19 pandemic presents us with an opportunity to rethink our approach, to reconnect with nature and our inner ‘gut feelings’.
Nature can reconnect us to ourselves, the comfort of birdsong, a view of the vast sky and its changing canvas can, for example bring an element of calm. By looking to nature, we can learn new ways of being and thinking. New ways to develop our business and lead our teams; ways that may serve us better in the future and will help us enjoy the presen.
Let’s look at The Five Cs of Nature and how entrepreneurs can use these tools to develop their businesses:
Let nature anchor you in the eye of this storm. Consider that penguins throughout the Antarctic are forced into a situation of lockdown for their survival – every year! Their natural cycle is to maximise energy intake in the easier times, foreseeing the challenging months ahead with a well-designed plan for survival. Let’s not forget as well, that penguins survive their harsh winters by huddling together in unity and support. Those animals on the outside who brunt the biting winds are quickly rotated back into the middle of the pack to make sure that no individual alone has to bear all of the burden. They endure, they survive, they thrive.
The lesson: Hard times don’t last forever and together we can bear the brunt of the worst of it for the benefit of all. Don’t dwell on the bad, rather look to the future, and while we travel the road to a post-COVID world look at how you can help others and share the burden of travel.
We’ve all heard the analogy of the ‘tortoise and the hare’. Take one step at a time, be surefooted, do not race to fake conclusions based on false information – about your work, relationships, or the future.
Lesson: Now is the time to be more like the tortoise. Trust in the path that you are on and that you will reach your goal, even if it takes a while. There is no need to rush back and forth, no need to panic and make rash decisions. Stop. Take stock. Think. Trust your instincts.
Nature has the incredible ability to keep itself in balance, adapting to new conditions in order to thrive. Think of the ‘urban fox’, that is, a regular fox that has learned to thrive in a city environment. Naturally speaking, these animals are better suited to the countryside, yet they have learned to balance ‘need and survival’ to make the most of living outside their chosen comfort zone. Mankind can learn from this by seeking alignment, unity, and harmony with the world around us. Whether that’s keeping our business afloat, or connecting with family, or even learning to live with the constraints of lockdown.
Lesson: Seek to embrace the world and situations around you. Don’t fight them or wallow in the apparent unfairness of a situation. Instead find ways to adapt and inevitably you will learn to thrive in that new environment, no matter how ‘unnatural’ it may feel.
This is embodied by the hatchling that flings itself off a mountaintop with the hope that it will fly. This tacit knowledge is passed down through generations. The young bird doesn’t need to be told it can fly, or taught how to fly, it just has the courage to leap with the inherent confidence that everything will be ok. Imagine having the courage to trust our natural instincts more often, instead of always seeking external validation?
Lesson: Take inspiration from nature to build your courage and trust your natural instincts. By all means take small steps first and trusting that your confidence will grow with every step.
That is to say, collaboration over competition. There is of course a great amount of competition in nature, whether it be for food, security or a mate. Yet nature’s ability to collaborate, even between species that would naturally be at odds with one another, is one of its greatest assets. Imagine the classic mutualistic relationship of a plover eating leftover food scraps from inside the mouth of a crocodile. The competitive food chain dictates that the crocodile should eat the bird at the expense of any other benefit, yet it doesn’t. Instead it allows the plover to clean its teeth and reduce the chance of infection. A truly natural form of oral hygiene!
Lesson: Consider the value of collaboration for mutual benefit. This is particularly important through the current global economic downturn, when we are all seeking the same goals. Collaboration over competition will often help us find a sustainable solution for the future of our startups and growth businesses.
The realities of the pandemic and the process of coming out of lockdown give us the reason and opportunity to ask important questions about our future. By connecting with Nature can use her lessons to improve their businesses and contribute to forging and new future for the benefit of all.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rosie Tomkins is founder of the Natural Capital Consultancy and author of ‘N-stinctive’, an inspirational book that introduces an alternative to traditional leadership training by unlocking the power of the natural world to provide strength and confidence to people who are shouldering huge responsibility.
Rosie’s clients include the GB Olympic hockey and England rugby teams, the NHS and multi-national companies in the airline, engineering and pharmaceutical industries.
Website – www.n-stinctive.com
Twitter – https://twitter.com/n_stinctive
Facebook – www.facebook.com/nstinctiveintelligence/