Better Choices, Better Outcomes


Well, it’s the middle of May and 2020 has not been like any other year. We can be proud that, so far, the sacrifices we have all made seem to have put NZ in a good position compared to what could have been with Covid -19. So, what now?

Last edition I spoke about making the choice to adapt (or die) and to lead your teams forward into the unknown.

Those that respond to change survive in business, those that let the world change around them die out

Our businesses have probably had the largest jolt they have ever experienced. Most had their doors closed for longer than ever before and some individuals have been away from work for the longest time ever. We have been in lockdown with family or friends or alone. Those of us that could work from home did so, we learnt to use new tools and discovered the effectiveness of on-line video meetings, we learnt to be more disciplined in how we use our time, it was hard. We had the opportunity to spend a lot more time with those we usually did not, to practise being patient and listening and appreciating some simple things, each other, our neighbourhood, being outside, being in New Zealand.

Some people have been waiting for “normal” to re-appear, some of us have had a personal jolt in the last 7 weeks that has taken us on a new path and we don’t want to go back to “normal”, or we don’t feel very comfortable at all right now. It’s OK, whichever camp you are in, well done, because you are, like it or not, learning to adapt to change.

Yes, we are in the same storm, but we are not in the same boat.

Keep yourself and your business ship shape

• Take care of yourself and your own mental health, do not start to work long hours again, keep up the exercise, take breaks, keep spending time with people you are getting to know again. You have the same amount of time available now, as you did in lockdown, how you use it is up to you. A clearer mind is much more effective than a cluttered one. Same principle as the joiners’ workshop.

• Stay closer to your customers, your team, your supply and service partners, increase the quality of your interactions and communication. This is what builds, strengthens and will make the biggest difference in the end. Culture and processes should be kept sharp.

• Understand the things your target customers value and are willing to pay more for, make sure your team are passionate about providing these with a level of service that delights, not simply satisfies. Customers will then become raving fans and recommend you to others.

• Know your numbers, work on things that matter, be confident with decision making, act with grace and dignity where people are concerned. Many of us are making changes or re-structuring right now and this does not have to be a heartless act.

• Embrace and trust change, pressure is a privilege, it can bring out our best. Work on being loose and supple, not rigid and brittle.

We are all small businesses here, we only need a few more jobs each week to regain the lost ground taken from us over the last few weeks. So let’s make the lockdown count for something positive and then we can look back on 2020 with some gratitude and 2020 hindsight.

Adapted from the webinars hosted for NKBA & Master Joiners which can be found here.

Ian Featherstone is a business advisor and leadership coach, and the owner of Glass Half Full. He specialises in the construction industry, particularly the joinery & cabinetry sector. For more information or to find out how you can move your team forward, please visit