Shapeshifting and silver linings

Shapeshifting and silver linings

Whereas it’s been easy to see all the dark clouds which obscured our light, it’s been so much more rewarding to look for – and find – the silver linings.

While none of it has been simple, and our personal and professional relationships have had to develop levels of resilience that we might not have imagined possible before 2020, it’s also been an adrenalin rush, at times. Yes, it’s been a devastating time on so many levels. And yes, our specific industry, Travel Tourism and Live Events, was heavily impacted. I reckon we’ve all had to scale vertical learning curves to stay at the top of our game.

EXCITEMENT AND ASTONISHMENT!

Terrifying times? Exciting times? Tick both boxes. When those first lockdowns stretched farther and farther ahead, the industry seemed to be in tatters. And yet once we got back up off the canvas, sheer human hardiness kicked in, and we started moving out from under the dark clouds, and back towards the light. I’ve been astonished, quite frankly, as well as utterly delighted by the myriad ways in which people have emerged more flexible than before, more courageous, more creative, and more innovative. My team has embraced new technologies, online platforms and apps, systems, and plug-ins. We’ve rediscovered the sheer enjoyment of being playful and inventive. Instead of lamenting what we had lost, we found real pleasure and satisfaction in discovery. We’ve upgraded ourselves to entire new skill sets and our levels of expertise have soared.

HERE’S A MASSIVE SILVER LINING

One of the things I’ve just loved, and been truly grateful for, is how everyone’s capacity for empathy has grown, as we’ve all shared a common humanity and helped each other understand a common narrative. 

Along with that, I’ve noticed how that inventiveness has also come to the fore in industries other than our own. We’ve all had to reshape our worlds, and our worlds of work, and the initial suffering has been dramatically countered by everyone’s utter determination and can-do spirit.  

Fear of the unknown? Not so much anymore. 

SHAPESHIFTING: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE.

To what extent can we confidently shape this new world?

We’ve learned that we can meet a heavyweight opponent head-on. But will we know if and when we have the upper hand?

One of the qualities I’ve seen all around me has been the ability to exit our comfort zones (do you remember those?) and leave behind anything and everything that would no longer work in the new landscape. 360 Degreeshad only been a Live Events company, doing many different genres of Live Event, from new car launches international motor shows to pop-up activations; from large-scale international conferences to small business breakfasts; gala awards functions to live link-up seminars at branches countrywide.

Real people, in real venues, making theatre, interacting with crowds of human beings. All taken for granted.

When suddenly the human touch was taken away.

WALKING THE PLANK? NOPE, IT’S A TIGHTROPE

Silver linings … a new boldness emerged, as we tried anything and everything that stood even a small chance of getting us across the sudden, wide, deep chasm between us and us, between us and our clients, between our clients and their audiences.

Thankfully, technology was pretty brilliant already, and that meant we had lots of resources to call upon to take what was the most logical step: going online and finding each other in cyberspace.

I believe that some of the mistakes we made at the start were a pretty small price to pay for the leaps we’ve made. Leaps of faith, yes; leaps of occasionally unrealistic confidence, trust, reliance on the skills of others. What an exciting time this has all been! Just incredible, actually. Two short years ago, if you’d suggested some of the things we’ve managed to come up with because needs must, I’d very probably have shaken my head, smiled, and said “Dream on…”

And boy, have we dreamed… Have we ever!

SWEET DREAMS, FOLKS!

I think I’ve also learned to be less certain of what future trends are going to be. This rollercoaster ride is far from over. But I do suspect that where online events have been our survival kit, the time of hybrid events – events that mix live and online in a whole kaleidoscope of ways – will probably be where we go from here, certainly in the short-to-medium term. A massive increase in our capabilities and capacity has been a shining lining of pure silver.

Spurred into ways of working that require constant reinvention and reshaping, we’ve learned to work in teams on a level of intensity we never had in our offices and planning rooms. 

And how about this: if ever there was a silver lining to the pandemic, we’ve learned to LISTEN! 

SHE GETS THE LAST WORD:

“I never learn anything from listening to myself.”
― Barbara Kingsolver