The past 6 months have been the craziest roller coaster since we started Color Concepts, 17 years ago. Within just one week our projects, trade shows, development plans and travel schedule flipped upside down and what looked like what was going to be our best year ever, changed into a dark tunnel towards uncertainty. But not for long! Our incredible team soon regrouped on Zoom, Slack, Skype, spoke with you, our partners and industry peers, talked to hundreds of manufacturers, resellers and end-users around the world and gave invaluable feedback about the mood, the energy and the hope many of you shared with us. It is inspiring to see how our industry is finding new ways to do business, to focus on new products and applications and how many entrepreneurs this industry actually has.
Many things happened on a personal level too: conversations became more personal, we got to see a glimpse of what each other’s personal lives look like, we saw each other’s kids jumping in front of webcams, our spouses and partners bringing us coffee during long video calls and we rushed from the shower to our home offices in the morning to get back to work. We worried about each other, cared for each other’s health and well being, paid attention to those who had issues working from home and supported those who needed it. In the meantime, many of us worked on improving our homes and gardens, picked up old hobbies and found ways to distract ourselves from what is happening in the world.
Some of us worried about their future at the company you work for, or the industry as a whole, but what we heard the most is that a much needed change has been forced upon us. Whether it was to slow down the rat race, or the unlimited traveling, the ‘being stuck in old processes’ or the fear of change. We had no choice anymore and we had to change. Some change is painful and it is hard to admit sometimes, that what you were doing in the past was not the best thing to do, even at the time. But this era is unique, in many ways. I have summarized the biggest takeaways for myself below and wanted to share them with you.
Being open and vulnerable is the new normal
We talk about ‘the new normal’ with almost everyone around us. The astonishing fact is how fast we got used to it: we got used to draconian measures taken by our governments and to the new rules that apply within every office building around the world. But what we also got used to, is that it is a new normal now to tell others that you are worried about your business, that sales is down, that you are struggling to find new opportunities. We are vulnerable and we dare to be vulnerable, because we are all in the same situation. We are much closer as an industry than we thought. Our teams have spoken with hundreds of people and the vulnerability was everywhere. It sparked creativity, out of the box thinking, it awakened a fighting spirit and gave hope. It would be awesome if we all learned from this experience and make this the new normal. Together we are always stronger, even when we are competing! Being vulnerable and realizing that you cannot always control every aspect of your business or job, is refreshing to learn, but it is not something new. It will always help, even after the current situation normalizes and we find our way back to the top. Give those with hope and plans support. Support the ones that fight and try to change. Just because it is what we all need.
We admire, appreciate and enjoy each other more than ever before
It is incredible to see our industry bounce back…