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Finding Your Grit Culture

I think enough has been written about how challenging 2020 was. We all lived through it. Some of us struggled through some incredibly testing times. Others found resilience they never knew they had.

What I think is important at the beginning of a new year, is to decide what lessons we have learnt and what we need to do differently in 2021. Importantly there seems to be this concept of going back to normal. We, at George & Matilda (G&M), have a strong mantra that that is simply wishful thinking and we need to create a new normal; one that reflects the demands and challenges of a new and exciting world full of new opportunities; as well as threats for those who don’t change.

One of the key takeaways is that those who can demonstrate not only the ability to withstand the tough times, but also the deftness to adapt and shift gears, will be the people that ultimately thrive in 2021 – they will be the high achievers.

In short, when thinking of what makes a ‘high achiever’, I strongly believe that it is a magic combination of tenacity and flexibility that takes the day every time. Which is why at G&M, we have made ‘grit’ the cornerstone of our culture.

Grit is having passion and perseverance for long term goals. Through COVID we identified so many in our team who weren’t prepared to give up when times became hard. Our people were prepared to pivot when they hit a dead end, we had a team who were willing to think differently and try something new to ensure the long term success of G&M Eyecare. Their passion and perseverance for the business and our patients is what has made us successful over the challenges of 2020.

However, while this makes sense to most people in theory, it can be hard to always put into practise. The pace of change can feel overwhelming, and the uncertainty around what the next few months may bring can paralyse people; stopping them from making plans, or actioning strategies to help futureproof their business.

If you find yourself pre-occupied with these feelings, you are not alone. It is part of human nature. However, there are some questions you can ask yourself to help overcome these thoughts:

  1. What are my strengths, and how can I apply these to help give me the edge?
  2. What relationships and partnerships can I build to help me in the areas where I feel less confident?
  3. What is the one tough conversation I am avoiding having? What is stopping me from having it today?
KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER

If I was to offer one key piece of practical advice, it would be to know your customer better. Now more than ever, optometry practices need to retain the loyalty of their patients by providing them with world-class, personalised service. Think how you can use data to make more informed decisions about what products and services to offer. This data should also provide you with insights into the customer journey and therefore how to personalise your patient communications. Ask yourself if you can leverage technology to automate processes, giving you more time back to invest in your patient experience.

Some of these questions may seem overwhelming, but they are critical to answer. It may be that you need to bring in some outside advice or support to help effectively tackle the challenges ahead.

For the team at G&M, a ‘high achiever’ is not someone who executes everything perfectly every single time. Rather, it is someone who has the self-awareness of when to play to their strengths and knows when to ask for help. That is why we have built a community of like-minded people, who can all benefit from one another’s abilities and passions.

It might be a bumpy road ahead, but I firmly believe that the high achievers will not be the individuals so much as the collectives of people willing to work together to navigate through these extraordinary times. High achievers are also proud to be in the service of others and not seek the credit for themselves. So, ask yourself, do you have the right people in your corner? And do they demonstrate these traits of high achievers?

Chris Beer is the Managing Director of George & Matilda Eyecare.

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