Fighting volatility | packaging world
As 2022 moves forward, we seem to be moving away from the two years that will always be known as “the pandemic” or “COVID” without necessarily moving out of the ASSIGNMENTS of the pandemic. Supply disruptions have rippled through the supply chain, sometimes double, triple or worse. It appears that weather-related disruptions to agricultural and agriculture-dependent industries are occurring at higher levels than ever before. I would argue that this perception might be exacerbated by our need to keep searching for “normal” or even a “new normal”, when nothing normal seems to be emerging. A combination of exhaustion, mental stress from jobs that may seem harder than ever, and genuine ongoing supply chain disruptions combine to continue to make jobs and life harder than ever for many.
I thought I might offer some thoughts on dealing with these struggles as many of us seek to conquer, fight, or just deal with the volatility that so many are experiencing. It seems that what we have to realize is that perseverance is going to be necessary for the next few months, if not years. For a tired, stressed and fatigued community (CP/CM and others), perseverance can be hard to achieve. Here are some things to think about as you seek to persevere and help others do the same.
We all know that good business and good business relationships depend on communication. I have to wonder if we don’t “all” know as much as we “all” have opportunities to improve our communication. Sharing information at an extra level of clarity has become more critical than ever. Perhaps taking the time to pick up the phone or write more complete thoughts and descriptions in your emails can go a long way in providing the additional information some may need to come to their own understanding. Maybe it would also help them muster up another set of patience in the process. Don’t be afraid to make things clear, perhaps on a level you’ve never shared before. We seek to remain partners in and through all of this, don’t we? Speaking of patience…
I’m not necessarily an expert on all things stress, disruption, or inflation. I know that passing judgment on another round of bad news without seeking to understand and accept the context of that bad news is not going to be very sustainable in the current environment. For example, knowing that your supplier has a delay or other disruption that will affect your ability to ship enough of the right product to the right place at the right time is not a fun reality to find out. For many of you today, it’s still deja vu! You can react to your supplier and their delay without also giving them the opportunity to provide you with context or explain what they are doing or would like to do to resolve the situation. You can even move directly to the next supplier with your business if the next supplier seems to be able to solve your problem. However, in today’s unstable environment, and perhaps because of that, shouldn’t it not be even more useful to fully understand a situation (call it the frying pan) before moving on to the next (possibly to discover that it is fire)?
As I prepared this column, I realized that I am witnessing many things in my community, my church, and my work that I never expected to see. This is not the right space to discuss many of these things, but one thing we can discuss is where the current environment sits on our own line of career exposure, successes, and struggles. Things happen in our personal and professional lives that change how we work, what is expected of us, and even how we respond to challenges. Perhaps the current environment, difficult as it is, should be seen through a broader lens. Many fear being blamed for the disruptions. Others feel the weight of trying to fix issues and problems they didn’t create. Most of us really want to get to a “new normal,” so we can figure out what our new way of operating will have to be.
Now I know this is crazy, but could I just challenge us to take a minute to reflect on what has already been accomplished in the past 2 years? I dare say that many of those reading this column are still employed, still in a contributory role in their organization, and have solved more problems and challenges in the past 2 years than they have faced in the last few years. 5 previous or more. I just hope you can see the fulfillment that lies in the solved issues on your list. I hope you can at least look in the mirror and know that you probably did it, did it again, did it under or just did it in a way you never knew you could! Think about it, then give that person in the mirror a good solid, “WAY TO GO!” See your weariness, your exhaustion, even, in the light of the things you have been able to accomplish, do or simply survive. You deserve a break, especially from… YOU!