Dealing with periods of crisis in a proactive way
How has the role of entrepreneur changed over the years? And how is it possible to face change by taking advantage of the opportunities it brings rather than being overwhelmed by it?
In the last twenty years the translation industry (like many others) has undergone an authentic Copernican revolution. With the progressive digitisation of processes and workflows, as far back as the early 1990s people were already predicting a tidal wave of automatic translations driven by American and Canadian multinationals that would potentially endanger small and elite companies such as our own.
We rode that wave, recognising how digital innovation was a formidable tool for supporting our people and their boundless creativity, implementing CAT tools for the benefit of our network of linguists and adopting new remote computing technologies to connect up with the office PC from home.
As such, unaware of what the future held in store, we unwittingly developed a form of ante litteram home working, which later evolved with all the digital technologies available in our sector and, in recent times, cloud computing.
So, innovative language technologies, yes, but never disconnected from the human component. This is our business model, formalised in a welfare programme (Weldoor) founded on the dual aspects of the work-life balance and corporate wellbeing with fitness and wellness activities.
When Covid came along, with all its variables, risks and hidden dangers, we were ready. Our human-to-human model would not have been able to stand this umpteenth unforeseen test if we were not already accustomed to placing the right emphasis on the ethical value of the importance of people, in the belief that those who feel better, work better.
The secret to a business’s success? It is a combination of many factors which come into play and make the difference also, and especially, at times of crisis. We have attempted to summarise them in three very tangible points.
What to do
- Cultivate loyalty. To get people to participate in achieving a common goal, that is the success of the business, you need to be different. People have to choose you.
- How do you get chosen? By providing a new service and, if a service no longer works, having the courage to change it, also radically. You have to identify the needs of society at all times.
- Motivate people. You can also do this remotely, not just by using social collaboration tools, but also through office meetings when possible or with online initiatives like the “Weldoor in your house” live fitness project. Because working together makes you stronger. Always.
- Work where you are most comfortable. In a nutshell: remote working, whether from home or by the pool. However, to share an idea with colleagues or dialogue with other departments or organisations it is also important to visit the office. To interact a little with the community, taking all the necessary precautions.
What not to do
- To ride the wave of the digital revolution, do not unilaterally introduce changes without joint participation and sharing. Changes imposed from above can generate resistance or animosity in people.
- Do not cut yourself off. Thinking you are the best or jealously guarding your business secrets is a recipe for disaster. Not cutting yourself off means collaborating with other businesses in your sector, promoting common causes or projects, but above all working with companies that operate in completely different industries.
- No individualists. It is essential to choose the right people to come and work for the company, at all levels: no to old-style bosses, individualists and authoritarians. Yes to passionate people who are in tune with the company’s values of respect and listening to others.