Back To Blog

Reflect, Reassess, Reset – the Three Rs that show businesses must think differently 

13th April 2023

Over the last two years, we’ve experienced an important new phenomenon in the world of business. You might have heard of it – The Great Resignation! 

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that people are now looking for something new and different. Employees no longer want to be tied into a job they don’t love. They want to have some say in their own destinies and control their own lives. 

And now they’re willing to do something about it. 

Reflect, Reassess, Reset 

Last week, I was privileged to deliver a masterclass on recruitment and retention to a group of CEOs at Vistage Malta. 

Now, this was my first time in Malta, so I’m no expert on the business landscape across that beautiful island. But I can tell you that they have many of the same problems that the rest of us have. And one of those is the Great Resignation. 

All over the world, Gen Z, Gen Y, and Millennials are showing us something that we should have already known: that using the ‘command and control’ method of running a business is a terrible idea.  

In fact, it always was a terrible idea. 

So why are we seeing this phenomenon today? Why not 10 years ago?  

The cliched answer is the COVID-19 pandemic. But it’s actually one very specific thing about the pandemic that I believe has led us here. 

Lockdown didn’t just offer them the opportunity to reflect – it forced them to. 

It required people all over the world to reassess their priorities and values. This in turn led to resignations, job moves, and straight-up career changes. 

No matter which way you spin it, that’s a sad indictment of the status quo: when they finally had the chance to reflect, people chose to do things differently. 

Now we’re faced with a choice, where people don’t want what they had before the pandemic. So do we do what we’ve always done? Or should we business leaders now choose to do things differently, too? 

Space To Think 

The irony is that quiet reflection is actually one of the most valuable tools we have for our own mental wellbeing, especially in a work context. 

During the pandemic, I was lucky enough to be able to watch the sunset every night from my balcony. Over lockdown, it became a non-negotiable part of my day: I’d watch the sun set over the sea and reflect on how to steer my business through the uncertainty of the pandemic. 

It gave me the space to reflect and forced me to tackle the situation head on. And it helped me a great deal. 

Since then, I’ve been a huge advocate not just of giving my team space to think, but actively requiring it from them. 

Recently, I took the Cloudfm senior leadership team to a working strategy retreat in Portugal. It was a hugely productive week, but one of the most important parts was building in space for reflection. 

After a week of intense meetings in the Algarve, I mandated that everyone had to spend two full hours on the final morning sitting on the beach. 

They were fully paid for those hours, and it was compulsory work time. But beyond that there were no rules. The only stipulation was that they sat on the beach, listened to the waves crash into the shore, and reflect. On anything – work, life, what they wanted for lunch… anything! 

Later, when we regrouped and wrapped up our final strategy session, every single person came back with a new perspective on the work we had done. And everyone remarked on how valuable that time had been.  

And I should add, none of them chose to resign! 

Reflection should not be a luxury 

What I’ve learned is that not everyone has the luxury of getting the time to just sit and think now that life has seemingly gone back to normal, and we’ve decided to go back to doing what we’ve always done.  

People might have demanding jobs that require them to spin plates and fight fires all day, then they might have to go home and look after themselves and their family members in the evening.  

As someone who runs a business, I’m all too aware of how this impacts my colleagues. And I know flexibility – especially in terms of working hours – is not just key to dealing with stress in the workplace, but also to growing productivity across the business. 

Just imagine how powerful it can be to give employees one hour a week to reflect, learn, and work out what they want from their lives. People don’t leave jobs that nourish them. They leave their jobs when they realise they’re not being nourished. 

As a business leader, I want to make sure that people are fundamentally happy. It’s human nature to be restless and to strive to be better. But if employees are fundamentally happy they’ll want to achieve their goals with you, not in spite of you. 

Yes, Covid gave people time to reflect, but it didn’t create the bad conditions in the first place.  

If we build cultures that put the human being first, we shouldn’t be afraid of giving people the space to reflect. And as a leader, you might find it becomes one of the most powerful tools in your kit. 

Read more about why your goal shouldn’t be to create the ‘most successful company’, it should be to create the ‘most desirable to work at’.

Book preview

Now Available at Amazon, E-Book and Audible

Buy Now