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A Nice Surprise

From a business perspective, this year simply has to go in the record books (and it’s only June) as one of the most unexpected, disruptive and unusual. Who would have thought that the global economy would be turned upside down in a few short weeks due to a pandemic outbreak? Who could have predicted that companies would be forced to shut down or close offices? As the rug literally got yanked out from under all of us, we had to quickly re-assess and respond to a dramatic new business environment.

As the leader of Idea Planet, I was, quite honestly, worried. I have always been a big believer in the energy and dynamic creativity of working together, in close contact, in our Dallas office. It really is amazing to see first-hand the partnership and collaboration of our team members in action. We have a terrific group of smart folks who are passionate about our clients and our work – so what would happen when we suddenly had to shelter in place and work from home? Would our close-knit team and integrated processes come unraveled? By nature, I really wasn’t crazy about the idea. But, of course, we had no choice. The safety and health of our employees, families, and communities are paramount

So, now it’s been about three and a half months of this impromptu work-from-home “experiment,” and you know what? It’s working! Of course, we’ve had to adjust and change the way we stay connected, but it’s working! We’ve gotten used to Zoom calls and screen sharing. We’re using Teams and Skype and Slack chats. We’ve even had a few, well-planned, socially-distanced small meetings in the office. But, it’s working! We haven’t even skipped a beat. And to make that even more awe-inspiring, we just presented an entire new 15-item line-up of thoughtful and creative concepts to one of our largest clients. And we pulled it all together while being apart. I gotta tell you, I’m so very proud of everyone at the Planet.

As I’m reflecting on this very nice surprise, I’m also thinking that I shouldn’t really be surprised. We have a culture rooted in innovative thinking and problem solving – so this has been just another speed bump in our work life, and everyone has handled it with aplomb. Not that it’s been easy, mind you. Our team includes parents with both newborns and school-age children who required A LOT of help with math homework. And some are caregivers for elderly parents with serious medical conditions. Some are recent transplants to Texas and others are single and live alone. So each of us, similar to each of you, has had our own set of challenges as we try to “make it work” under an entirely new era of isolation and uncertainty.

My original intent for this blog was to share some tips and tricks for working from home, but as I write this, I’ve realized that’s not really needed. We’re all figuring out what works best for each of us. Rather, I’ll just tell you that I understand. And I believe in you. We’re all in this together, and we will rise to the occasion because that’s in our collective, human nature.

Please reach out if you need anything. It would be a nice surprise to hear from you.


Mike Flecker

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