May 5, 2020 by Bart Stegeman, CEO

[COLUMN] Focus


At the beginning of March, I was traveling through Europe as I was headed to the ‘official EU capital’ where the European Plastic Pact was to be signed. The focus in Brussels was to enable a sustainable future by finding a solution for the plastic waste accumulating around us, without diminishing the fact that there is no future without plastic components.

We must be a part of a smart solution for our environment.

There were some laughs about how to greet each other – first cough into your elbow and then bump it into your colleague. The atmosphere was focused on the future and making a ‘yes, we can solve the plastic waste issue’ statement.

In less than a week, the focus in Europe had changed; bars and restaurants shut their doors, as well as kindergartens and schools, working from home was encouraged. There was a new player on the block demanding all the attention.

How to manage something never managed before by the current generation of companies, managers, directors? What kind of tempo does this new state of ‘emergency’ require? What to focus on?

I don’t believe there is a universal answer; there are probably many approaches, depending of course on the company itself, and the goods and services affected by the social and economic impact of the anti-corona measures.

Bart Stegeman, CEO

I believe it is important to keep working based on the same values the company had before, so we at Skaza focus onachieving goals based on all our experience and courage, protecting our natural resources responsibly.

So we basically did only that. The first focus was on our colleagues with small children now the schools and kindergartens are closed, implementing health measures for our colleagues in the factory and the office, establishing all the necessary VPN connections where not yet established to enable working from home. Therefore, focus on your own people first as you are on this journey together.
Secondly, try to figure out what is happening in your supply chain, what do your customers do, what is happening with your suppliers and, of course, are able to transport our goods to wherever they need to be delivered.

As many of you have probably noticed, this was not an easy job as we were basically in the same boat together, and all of us at the same time. But again, believing in the experience of our team and our ability to adapt paid off, and thanks to our transparent reporting system, we quite soon had an overview of what the new reality looks like.

But these are all practical measures that were quite easy to implement, the main part of how to manage the changing environment is handling the uncertainty your colleagues feel.

What is happening with them, what their fears are, are they able to take care of their family members? What issues are they dealing with?

I believe we’ve made a substantial impact on how to adapt to all the changes, we focused on communicating through all the channels 100% transparently and openly.
‘Yes, our biggest customer has closed his shops; yes, we have a 30% or more production output drop; yes, there will also be unpleasant measures’, but we are most of all reassuring that we will get through this together in whichever area possible.

‘And yes, we will come out of this stronger and more agile than ever before.’

So yes, you didn’t hear from us as much as you were used to since all of our energy and focus went out to our colleagues and their loved ones, and we will keep doing that as much as needed.

I would like to thank all the employees at Skaza for adapting to the current situation; I would like to thank the owners for their support in these uncertain times as this is essential in paving the path into the future. And let me thank the whole management team as the circumstances were ‘out of the ordinary’ in the past months.
Change not the outside
Self. Focus on the inside - 
You will change the world.

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