World events this year have made for terrifying press coverage. The American Military term VUCA is exactly right – Volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous conditions. On we trudge, with our heads permanently in this negative cloud.
Unsurprising perhaps then, that someone thinking up a new Internet hoax decided on spoof celebrity suicide. If you didn’t see the coverage on Facebook this week, Rowan Atkinson is alive and well.
Bad news travels fast.
Why didn’t the scammers create a spoof positive story? Would it have spread as fast? We are desperate for good news but primed to expect negative stories. Then with the press of a button, we share them with friends and colleagues. On spreads doom and despair.
So what happens this summer if our teams hear company rumours – about a possible takeover or job losses for example. I wonder how fast word would spread, and how positively the conversation would flow.
How much resilience or ‘positive mental attitude’ courses would we have to put everyone through, to even get them past neutral on the positive thinking scale?
Businesses can’t thrive in a culture of fear.
How often do we celebrate success in business? The little everyday achievements, not just the big wins. How many good news stories are circulating among our teams on any given day? It’s a trap that I find all too easy to fall in to. The things that are going well are quickly taken for granted. The things that go badly get all the attention and airspace.
But success is a great deal easier to cultivate when good news stories are circulating. Breed optimism and people are bound to be more resilient.
In current times we owe it to our staff to fire up internal communications as a positive counterbalance to what is going on outside. If we aren’t nurturing positive stories, how can we expect our teams to go out there with enough belief to help our company grow? How can we expect maximum energy to be put in to productivity? Without positivity, our internal engines grind to a halt and we become defeated.
Good news is fuel for the soul.
So let’s start some positive news flowing. It is there, you just have to look a little harder to find it. For the doubtful, here are three fantastic news stories about the job market.
Instead of bleating about what is going wrong, the organisations highlighted below have gone out and done something. Some, in a very small way. Others with big global consequences.
Positive things happen, even in VUCA times. Take heart, spread hope and share good news when you see it.
Joe Brown’s Egg round
Joe Brown has Aspergers Syndrome, a form of Autism. Only 15% of adults with this disability work and live independently. The remaining 85% live on Incapacity Benefit.
In July 2008, Mr Brown started delivering Free-Range eggs to houses in his hometown using a pedestrian trolley. After a couple of years he had 500 customers, so the pedestrian trolley became a customised golf buggy. Joe has recently passed his driving test, so now he can stay dry when he delivers the eggs, whatever the weather.
No longer just a story of personal success, Joe Brown’s Egg Round has proved so popular that it has been franchised. Other people with similar conditions now have the opportunity to work in their own community. How’s that for superhuman levels of achievement? www.joebrownsegground.co.uk
The Education and Skills Partnership
The ESP www.esp-ac.uk work nationally with Strode College to deliver accredited training courses focused on getting people who have found it very difficult to get a job, in to employment. The focus is basic training tailored for specific jobs – how to present yourself; how to make conversation with customers. This is a pre-step to in-work apprenticeships.
In a recent contract for Harry Ramsden’s, ESP ran two training courses with work placements guaranteed for all course attendees. Out of the 32 people on the courses, 30 are now employed. 21 people have been taken on by Harry Ramsden’s and another 9 with two further companies local to the scheme.
One of the roles awarded went to a man who had been unemployed for the past 4 years. He has difficulty interacting with people, particularly in busy places. He is now a cleaner, working in the early hours before anyone else starts work. The job gets done well, and he is very happy at work. Another person was homeless, but was put on to the scheme through http://www.wearestreetlife.org/ He now has a fresh start in life.
Globally, World Merit has over 100,000 volunteer members in around 100 countries. Each of them is committed to bringing about positive change in their local community – addressing at grass roots level, the 17 sustainable development goals laid down by the United Nations such as global hunger and world poverty.
As a thank you for all of this volunteer support, World Merit create workplace opportunities for people whose geography, education or social status would generally mean they were excluded from mainstream recruitment processes.
Here is a recent article in the Huffington Post, explaining how one scheme worked: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/sustainable-recruitment_us_5783ee65e4b05b4c02fd4685
Three stories full of hope and potential. But I’m sure you can do better. Tell us what you’ve heard recently that lifted your spirits about the world of work.
Comment below and give us all some positive inspiration.