Cattle Dog Digital

Finding Value in a Year for Grief, Change and Transformation

Adapting in 2020

by Sarah Harkness 

August 25, 2020

Alright, we acknowledge it, 2020 is the year for grief and transformation. 

You do not have to look very far to find glimpses of new life and transformation in this time of pandemonium. Globally, we are experiencing a shift from a familiar world economy back to the boundaries of localisation. On the homefront, (at least in Australia) we are not immune. Even though we are an island, there is a health crisis wave because of our apparent ‘Aussie optimism.’ It’s the ‘she’ll be right mate’ attitude that has landed a whole state in stage 4 lockdown. In Australia, we are now in a situation where we have mandatory mask-wearing three weeks after house parties and big weddings were re-approved. 

It is a time of flux, change, optimism, and grief, followed by waves of seismic disruption. Our whole lives have changed. The way we work has changed. It seems as if this daily change is the new constant. 

I have seen friends’ businesses gutted; having to make difficult decisions to let employees go or reduce staff down to a minimum wage amount. I have seen close family members stranded in places, unable to move, only able to connect with a digital stream of engagement. Some of us have lost people during this time, and death is different when you cannot be there to physically inhale the definitive ‘endness’ of the loss.

Amidst the sadness and pandemonium, I have seen seeds of positive adaptation in the grief of our old lives and the birth of our new. This gives me hope. Hope that in emerging out of this traumatic year, we will be awakened, reborn, and energised with renewed motivation for positive, lasting change. 

Rhetoric and esoterics aside, we deal with transformation all the time in our line of work. Whether someone is adopting a new slice of technology, brimming with the optimism of a toddler having drunk the Kool-Aid of powerful tools, with buzzwords like ROI and the marketing dog and pony show and hoping like hell the reality will indeed meet these lofty expectations. Or they have realised the key to success in their investment is the variable; themselves and their relationship to the technology. Cattle Dog Digital was born out of similar optimism for positive change. 

Our founders and team are centred on ‘delivering to values’ which embodies a direct link to integrity, people and process. We are in the services delivery business to make people and projects the best they can be, often because they have been led astray or had mismatched expectations of value-to-investment. This takes on new meaning for us when we become responsible for those investing in new technology implementations during a pandemic. This is not dissimilar to the GFC or other trying times; we make it our personal mission to be different. We strive to be authentic, to learn, to grow and to make a difference. 

If you are embarking on change, whether personal or work-related (we all know those lines have infinitely blurred), we know it can be overwhelming. You may be wondering where to start, what to know, who to trust, and what’s safe? These questions become visceral in times like this– in times of change, in times of grief. Maybe there is a simple place to start. Ask yourself: Does this align with our (business) values? With my (individual) values? Reflect on these questions, often the answer is close by. 

In agile, change and roadmaps are not static. It ebbs and flows with the needs and shifts to low hanging project fruit and ‘quick wins’. This is not foreign ground for experienced practitioners. However, embracing agile change is not just for the experienced, it can be adopted by those open to these concepts as a way to navigate and even innovate during uncertain times. Accepting change and ambiguity allows room for creativity and innovation which can lead to transformation. And it does not have to be costly. Change can come from taking the time to simply ask the question, ‘Does this process, tool, or platform align to our evolving value and the future value we want to create?’

It is hard for all of us to gain any meaningful perspective at the moment whilst this whole global situation is playing out. That said, perhaps one way to work through processing it is to leave room to grieve the important stuff, the authentic ‘human’ experiences to separate it from the rest. Outside of the larger perspective, we can apply the right level or proportionately lighter yet purposeful focus and continual improvement to adapt to new digital-first ways of working. Change can be positive when embraced and aligned to value. Change that delivers value is transformative and that’s nothing to be sad about.