Álex Rovira, expert in psychology of leadership and corporate behaviour
Álex Rovira is a well-known writer and economist and an international lecturer. His connection with the graphic arts sector dates back to his childhood, as his father and grandfather owned a graphic arts company and during the summers he worked in the warehouse, looking at dies and learning about kinds of inks and papers. At Graphispag he offered the tips listed below on adapting to challenging and uncertain times.
When the pandemic led to the imposition of lockdowns, the graphic arts sector understandably underwent a decline. In my case, I’m not going to talk to you in terms of theory, I’m going to talk to you based on my experience. During that period my professional activity dropped by 100%. Faced with this new and unexpected situation, I decided to create an online leadership school from scratch, focusing on humanism and digital change management, and it currently has more than 30,000 students around the world. I’m therefore going to reflect on how we can adapt to really challenging processes throughout life and we’re going to do so on a journey that will take us through 4 forces:
Believing: the psychology of trust
Creating: the psychology of commitment
Achieving: the psychology of achievement
Communicating: the psychology of meeting or cohesion
At this point I’ll refer to the existential stance that we have. The psychologist Eric Berne stated that our existential stance is a set of beliefs based on three pillars: what I believe about myself, what I believe about the other and, finally, what I believe about life. These systems of beliefs are consistent with each other, in other words, people who believe that they aren’t capable will tend to believe that they’re inferior and that life is difficult. When we change this perception we change a whole system of beliefs, because in this life we don’t get what we deserve, we get what we’re able to negotiate, beginning with ourselves.
There’s a fundamental idea, namely that we don’t live up to our abilities, we live up to our beliefs. Our beliefs therefore condition us.
What we believe tends to be what we create. I’m not saying that we can achieve everything we want, but we can, a priori, achieve more than we think if we set about doing something and believe in it.
Psychology is what creates the economy. Greatness, integrity, resilience and what you work on with yourself and your work teams conditions your processes and results. In this situation there are people who are creators of good luck based on values that they want to promote. When a team integrates a series of positive values, it generates a number of habits based on these virtues in action, and this generates talent.
As Seneca declared, “good luck is the place where preparation and opportunity converge”. Now, more than ever before, we should become aware of this formula and conjugate it.
Opportunity comes from being opportune (it isn’t the opposite of a threat), in other words, the ability or willingness to make the most of a situation that’s generated over time. Opportunity depends on chance, it isn’t under our control, but we can turn a fortuitous event into an opportunity, and so we can strive for good luck, which will stem from consciousness and values in action. As for preparation, it’s an endogenous variable and it can be prepared by each of us. In this regard, the greater the preparation, the less chance there is; the greater the preparation of new materials, new media and new management and printing systems, the more powerful when combating the company will become, and even more so if it’s a difficult situation.
You’re the cause of your good fortune if you have the decisiveness and determination to grasp the reins of your leadership and undergo a conscious transformation.
What’s the dialectic that we can develop to move forward in challenging situations?
We can begin to create with a look of mutual trust. We must pay attention to what’s holding us back from creating something new, as the main factor in failure is poorly digested success. Do you think there’s something in your business that makes you cling on to a false sense of security and keeps you from moving? In which areas can we identify new opportunities? The things that transform life are small habits. What you have to do is focus and define a habit that will lead to a transformation, knowing that you’ll sometimes win and sometimes learn. The important thing is to realise that adversity and suffering can be productive and generative, but for this to happen we have to reflect, because there’s no wisdom without reflection.
We need to stop with our team and focus on where we’re going. And this means shifting from living with unconscious certainty to living with conscious uncertainty. Change entails a need as opposed to resistance. This is why fear and laziness arise during times such as the ones we’ve lived through, but change entails a transformation because transformation is change with meaning. And the question we have to ask ourselves is what for, because what gives us strength is what we want to become.
A rule we can apply, not only in our personal lives but also in our work, is the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 (or 20/80) Rule, which states that, in general, for a large number of phenomena, approximately 80% of the consequences stem from 20% of the causes. In this regard, we must ask ourselves what we can stop doing. For example, you wear 20% of the clothes you own 80% of the time. Based on customer analysis, keep what brings you value, simplify to multiply your efficiency, repair and take care of what you already have (a relationship with a customer, a dissatisfied employee) and begin with habits that enable you to improve the work dynamics with your team or generate new business opportunities.
What do we need in organisational terms in the wake of the crisis generated by the pandemic? Intelligent people with a capacity for humble and kind self-criticism for the continuous improvement of everyone, greater awareness, a desire for constant betterment and flexible people who think about the common good with enthusiasm, passion, great creative capacity and long-suffering and a word that’s often forgotten, but one with great value: greatness and constancy of spirit in adversity. We mustn’t overlook the fact that the quality of processes is directly related to the human quality of people.
How are we making our customer, our supplier, our environment or our family feel? When things are done, they speak for themselves.
The Socratic filter of truth, goodness and usefulness is fundamental if you want to build personal and professional quality. Prestige and reputation are priceless and at this point communication is key; it has to be based on honesty, usefulness and the goodness of mutual benefit. It’s a guarantee when multiplying bonds in personal and professional relationships in an extraordinary way.
To sum up, I’d like to add five final reflections:
- Create a pandemic of human value; curiously enough, Covid begins with “co” Focus on building trust, commitment, collaboration and correspondence
- Generate a culture of trust and constant commitment
- Increase the range of ways of communicating; technology has made this task easier, without neglecting the bond that unites us
- Adopt a trial-and-error and high-speed learning mentality
- Create a powerful personal and corporate culture
And remember: your feet on the ground and your head in the stars.
Cristina Benavides, Graphispag contributor