The path to productivity in a post-COVID-19 world

BUSINESS MATTERS (BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE) - Francis J. Kong - The Philippine Star

I first met Krish Dhanam in London many years ago. He has since become a close friend. Krish has guested in many business conferences I have organized. He was personally mentored by the legendary Zig Ziglar, moved to the US, and is best known as an effective business speaker and trainer in sales and leadership.

I asked Krish for his take on how we should all prepare ourselves to enter a post-COVID world. This was his response: “Looking at the horizon and wondering what lies ahead is what forms the foundations of aim. Looking back at the recent past and brooding over what was lost is the remnant of blame.”

I remember a story I saw in a movie I viewed in my youth. A man of affluence was getting his shoes shined by a young lad. The boy finished his work and achieved a spotless shine for his customer. The man proceeded to pay for the services rendered by tossing some coins on the floor alongside the young kid. The words of that kid shocked the adult when he said: “Sir, I am not a beggar, and I will not pick up money thrown at me. Kindly pick it up and place it in my hand.” The legend and legacy of that movie fueled the imagination of both victors and victims.

The one lesson I learned from that simple offering was that the only element of work that will stand the test of time is “dignity.” As we look at the devastation of the pandemic and the despair of large parts of the global populace, the solution ahead warrants a formulaic approach.

The three legs on the path to future productivity are:

1. Dignity in belief.

2. Design in behavior.

3. Declaration of belonging.

Human achievement continues to use these three principles to overcome the present obstacles and overtake future objections.

The one thing that everyone knows is that the world had to stop because of a virus. The one thing that not everyone believes is that the path forward requires embracing that foundational truth.

The imperative in that belief is that the playing field is level for the first time in our lives. Embrace the dignity that hard work pays. Enhance the design that your behavior will fetch you the reward and declare the territory in which you will frame your victory.

This simple three-step approach allows you to let your past teach you and not beat you. Like the shoeshine boy in the above story, do not settle for what life throws at you and be complacent. Don’t just compete in running the race. Run to complete and win the race. These are not motivational platitudes or empty flattery to garner emotion. Tried and proven, these methods are rooted in the foundations of human dignity.

Famed athlete Edwin Moses, who performed gloriously on the world’s highest stage as a champion in the hurdles, came from humble beginnings. He had to practice on substandard tracks, with below-average equipment. Long after achieving fame and fortune, and setting records that will immortally stand, a reporter asked him if it hurt physically to practice in substandard environments. His answer heralded dignity in work: “I knew it would hurt, so I cried before practice.”

“Genius is the ability to focus on the task at hand. Focus on dignity to surge head.” These are Krish’s thoughts. What wonderful insights.

While the world braces for the return to business and the economy, the fact remains that we should prepare ourselves to enter a world that is hardly recognizable from the one that we came from just a mere 20 or more months ago. There will be anxiety; there will be stress.

Business owners should not rush to make up for the losses and put excessive stress on their people. Understand that people need to pace themselves and adjust to the new environment, especially after being in home detention for almost two years. Many may have experienced personal losses, and most will be anxious and fearful.

There has to be a strategic approach towards inspiring, encouraging, and training them to prepare for the new reality.

As Krish says: “To have dignity in belief, design in behavior, and be confident in our declaration of belonging.” In other words, we should embrace the dignity that hard work pays. Enhance the design that our behavior will fetch us the reward and declare the territory in which we will frame our victory – powerful words to prepare us for the new reality.



(Connect with Francis Kong at www.facebook.com/franciskong2. or listen to “Business Matters” Monday to Friday 8 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. over 98.7 dzfe-FM’ The Master’s Touch,’ the classical music station.)


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