CGC's Carmel Jones sat down with Ben Lloyd and Kane Lawson (virtually of course) of Trinity Quality Interiors to talk about a brighter future after COVID.
What have you learnt about leadership when facing the challenges presented by COVID-19?
Leadership without knowledge is empty and directionless.
Where have you taken your direction / guidance from over the last few months?
As the situation evolved in front of our eyes, we identified very early that it would be very important for us to act quickly to protect our business, staff members and subcontractors. However, we were also mindful that we didn’t want to make decisions unless we had good information to base these decisions on. Our first port of call was always Commonwealth Government Information Sources. Secondary to this, it is essential that any business leader knows who their advisors are, because in times like this, you need to know who is in your corner. Personally, I have benefited greatly from being a member of coraggio.com.au, who facilitate Business Advisory Boards for their members. The discussions facilitated in our monthly board meetings enabled us to proceed with decision making with great clarity.
How have you communicated your company strategy to your staff during this period?
We have spent a lot of time in grass roots conversations with all staff members, and in doing this, it has been very important for us to spend most of this time listening. Although concerns have been largely universal, the way we communicated our course of action needed to be nuanced and considerate of each staff member. Following face to face conversations we then formalised our strategy in a staff memo which we update and distribute monthly which communicates our course of action to date; how the business is tracking; and our outlook for the next 2-3 months. This provides concrete information that they can communicate to their families who are often equally or more concerned!
In your opinion, what is the outlook for the Australian Construction industry?
I can only really comment on the sectors of the market we service as a SME. Our business activity is generally the result of decision making from 3-9 months ago. We are only 3 months in now and so our view is that we are yet to see the full affects of COVID decision making. This is why we are only starting to hear of Federal and State Government stimulus packages, without which I cannot see private sector business confidence returning until well into 2021.
In 2 years’, time, what would be the biggest change you would like to see come out of this crisis?
I hope we will all be living more mindfully, if COVID has taught me anything it is that we need each other more than ever. Soft skills like empathy, compassion and kindness are the building blocks for getting us through times of crises. Why can’t we all operate from this platform all the time?