Setting out with high hopes
We began 2020 with high hopes. Despite watching the news about China building hospitals at a record pace, we did not realise the impact the pandemic would have on our own lives.
This was a mistake.
We hope to never again experience a year like this one – a hope that is probably in vain. More importantly, along with the difficulties, this was a year of finding treasure: the treasure of greater self-knowledge and discernment in our decision-making.
This article tells the story of what Dolphin Bay has learnt this year.
The need for a shield
After the initial surprise when lockdown was declared in countries across the world, I felt a sense of excitement. We were embarking on a journey through a global crisis that would make history, and we were all in it together.
However, enormous anxiety soon became the reality for many. We witnessed consumers and businesses react in panic to the Covid-19 restrictions. The business environment deteriorated quickly as companies tightened their grip on cash flow, causing problems and uncertainty.
We opted to shield our team, to hold fast to our core values, and to engage frequently with our customers.
Many consumers set off on a buying frenzy, unsure whether groceries would remain on the shelves and whether they would retain their jobs and ability to feed their families.
We knew that Dolphin Bay could weather the storm and so we entered a period of reflection that would have immediate consequences. We made the conscious decision to allay the anxiety our staff might feel, and sent them a letter saying their jobs, leave and salaries would not be affected by lockdown, whether they were able to work at home or not.
Our leadership would be a shield to protect our team, managing the stress so that they did not start doing so on their own.
We resolved to keep our sense of unity; to continue to live and do business conservatively; and to stick fast to the values that have served us well over the years.
Opting for an empathetic approach to our customers, we communicated with them frequently in a bid to resolve problems together as they arose. It is my belief and hope that the industry understood and valued this approach over this time.
The success of working together has brought home the resilience of our companies and industry.
Finding the treasure
For me, this was a year of philosophical realisations with immediate practical consequences.
Like plants, our characters have roots. We can’t see them, yet their depth and reach determine our every decision. This is why continuous personal growth is important.
Our lives could end in a heartbeat; every minute is precious.
We appreciate that we were able to pick up stones with our clients and confront many difficulties together.
A typical response to the pandemic this year was to bemoan the hardships it brought and wish them away, a response borne of our intolerance of suffering. Yet real treasure was waiting to be found this year – treasure hidden beneath the stones in our hearts.
It is only when we pick up these stones and examine the wriggling and ugly creatures beneath, seeing them for what they are, that we find this treasure.
During this year, I made it a priority to pick up these stones and study these creatures that might pose a threat to our team and business. The process was unpleasant but confronting the worst that could occur gave me a sense of control.
It also gave me the opportunity to acknowledge the grace that was given to us in these difficult times.
We did not recognise it at the time, but this year has emphasised the need to prepare for great change. We realise the threat that interruptions can pose to our way of business, and the need to adapt.
We started modernising our factory in 2019 with a process of automation; a bold step showing our confidence in the future.
Soon we will be installing an ABB robot, whom we affectionately call ‘Oliver’, with additional automation, to simplify the manufacturing process and add more capacity to our production.
We want to have a state-of-the-art working environment, to gear our business for the modern era.
We’re extremely excited about it all. Automation will not threaten any of our team members’ jobs; it will enable them to be more efficient and enjoy a modern working environment.
Our heartfelt thanks go to our business partners for walking through these challenging times with us. We appreciate that we were able to look beneath the stones and confront many difficulties together.
Together, we will build a brighter future in 2021.