Yes, there are bankruptcies. Yes, there are painful cases. Yes, the measurements are heavy. Meanwhile, a lot of things are going really well, but are we willing to see them? Mind the word 'but'. We will come back to that later.
We are a rich country. Whatever your opinion is on what the budgets are spent on, we also benefit from huge amounts of money that sometimes seem to come out of nowhere. For instance: what about the hundreds of millions of extra support budget the government are spending on the industries that are hit the hardest. That is just so much money. And how cool is it that we can manage to do this as a country? We really can. Because, in the last few years, our economy was going up, so we had a little more financial muscle. And because we are still considered a creditworthy country, we can borrow money if needed. Our economy could handle a 'little' turmoil. Which we are in the middle of.
CBS has established that this year, our economy will shrink by 3%. Of course that is a tough thing to take, especially after years of growth. Of course the consequences are harsh, for both businesses and individuals. Still, if we want to keep hope, if we want to keep having perspective, we should pay more attention to the bright spots. We are, for instance, very resilient. After a relatively small economic contraction in the first quarter of 2020, our country had to deal with an unprecedented large contraction of 8.5% in the second. It was all over the media. Dark scenarios all over the place. However, against all expectations, the third quarter showed a recovery of 7.7%. Despite everything, we managed to keep 97% of our economy intact. And those are the best results in Europe. How cool is that? We miss optimism in the media. If your glass is half empty, you are still left with a full half. It's just that that half seems to disappear from view.
You don't have to be in denial to still see the bright side. Sure we are going to work hard on our recovery. Or even better: sure we will move forward. Preferably not only from an economic perspective. If we're smart, these times can be thé inspiration to do things completely differently. Returning to how things were would be a waste. A waste of bitter lessons we are learning, a waste of all the efforts taken in an economic en societal perspective, a waste of the message we get thrown in our face. What if we take this message seriously and move forward instead of back? In terms of sustainability, support for the vulnerable, the balance between wealth and wellbeing. We are hopeful that together we will really make this world better. You will find 9 pointers to start you off here. Just so we can help ourselves to a glass that is once again half full.
Speaking of better: in the coming weeks, the same half full glass will be on a lot of worktables. There will be hundreds of thousands of performance reviews in which the employer's improvements will be the main topic. Reviews that a lot of people get nervous about, because they are reproached for things that should or could have been discussed earlier. Or because they don't get a chance to evaluate their manager. Or because those reviews often start with: We really appreciate you, but....
Our brains turn the word 'but' into 'no', or at least it causes a negative mindset. You forget about the first part of the message en are left with the reservation, the warning. Suppose we leave out the word 'but' and the sentence following it. Suppose you fully focus on what your colleague is doing well, and thank him/her for that. Suppose we turn the mandatory evaluation into a personal (digital) meeting. What do you think: will that have more impact than the review wíth the warning? Will your colleagues get back to their jobs fully motivated and filled with confidence? Will managing be less draining?
We hope you will have beautiful meetings.
On december 7 our pagelong ad in FD will about this topic. You can find it below.