Table of 8: Session 3

TABLE of 8  - Third Week Topics of Discussion and Key Takeaways. 

The current situation with Covid-19 forced us all to become brave and have new conversations. Our people within the business have been amazing, even when we have had to have difficult conversations about pay cuts etc... the human condition has prevailed.

  • Innovations within the company were going to happen but Covid-19 has really accelerated things. 
  • It's important to understand the differences in our teams across the region and to be ultra-sensitive to their situation, we are all at different points in the journey when it comes to Covid 19. 
  • There are a lot of conversations happening about changing things but we are not yet seeing any real action, I'd love to see more commitment to the big issues.
  • 2020 has been a very human time, one of empathy. 
  • 2020 has really been a stress test for the company to see if we genuinely have the process and offering in place to really help support the mental wellbeing of our staff. 

Quote of 2020: I think you're on mute 

Discussed the working from home impact on the now and future --

An overall consensus is that there are benefits, as we all got to know our teams and people a lot better, more intimately as we experienced their home setting (e.g. talking to your CEO in their home setting), meeting partners or kids (virtually), introduced to the pets. And the new norm might be working from home 2-3 days a week. We also discussed how the clients would feel if their agencies would work from home (all clients seemed supportive as long as the work was done). 

This discussion then extended to how agencies will manage to keep creative spark (during a time of social distancing, working from home, coupled with a depressing backdrop of covid/economic recession).

The downside is that some found it difficult to have the tougher (confrontational) discussions on performance or improvements. And some expressed needing to help their younger team members as they struggled to switch-off when working from home.
The current focus for some in the marketing space is to ensure that teams feel secure and safe, as it has been un-settling times and the spectre of a recession and redundancies. And spent the time resetting and shaping the organization for a fast start out of the block (more specific to the Asian countries which has Covid under control). This including training and up-skilling existing talent and some shift to digital. This morphed into a discussion on being brave and taking the time to accelerate change and leverage the communication platforms (webinars/virtual conferencing etc).
In marketing services and agencies sector, it has been a mixed bag of ups and down dependent on the sectors they served. Range of challenges from having to wind down teams which were set-up for some of the big sports sponsorship events (which got cancelled).

The events industry also had to deal with the additional stress of social distancing, having to incorporate additional complexity at their events.  And the media publishing industry experienced two extremes, journalist very busy covering all the global events whilst the advertising component focused on accelerated innovations to cater for client’s needs.
There was a lot of discussion around whether businesses are doing enough to counter racism; and some felt that there is a lot of talk, but not enough action. This discussion extended into whether the current model of Global Value systems will survive in a world which is experiencing deep routed racism and geo-political fighting and instability. Cultural differences were also referenced between asia and the west.
Mental health is top of mind, the importance of :

  • Supporting our communities and colleagues (past and present) as they lose their jobs due to recession with little prospect of finding employment in the current environment. Many of us posted on LinkedIn to offer colleagues with help with intros.
  • Spending extra time with our teams on a 1:1 basis, especially as working from home downside is that it gets harder to spot mental health problems or “at risk” people.


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