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No Pain, No Gain? Overcoming the Pain of 2020 to Make 2021 Better

To say that 2020 was painful is grossly understating things. However, we can use the pain of 2020 to help our companies, our employees and ourselves to grow, change and be more successful in the future. What do I mean by this, and how can you make this happen?

In 2020 some painful changes happened in a few common areas, such as:

Technology Became Essential

Whether it was outfitting a remote workforce, creating a touchless experience for customers or moving from a strictly brick & mortar store to an online presence, 2020 forced all organizations to focus on their technology. However, these improvements will provide benefits for years to come (by introducing us to new online sales channels, allowing employees more flexibility in their work-home lives, and creating new ways to service our clients). We may not have wanted to update our businesses technologically, but because we were forced to do so, we will all be better for it.

Communication & Flexibility Were Key

As mentioned in last week’s blog, companies were also forced to focus on how they communicate – with staff, with vendors and with customers. As communication became more difficult, new procedures were put in place to make sure everyone stayed in touch. I know here at Dion, we created a number of daily communications meetings that previously only happened weekly or bi-weekly – to make sure we were all on the same page and able to handle any COVID related changes quickly. Flexibility to communicate with remote staff and to handle employee issues (like employees needing to be home for children, making the workplace COVID safe, etc.) has made us more responsive and caring employers. These changes are sure to stick around and allow us to be more responsive to issues going forward.

Went From “Just in Time” to “Just in Case”

Prior to the pandemic, any redundancies were considered wasteful. “Just in time” thinking worked well … until it didn’t. What COVID unveiled is that “just in time” made us vulnerable to supply shortages and personnel shortages. All of the sudden we had to cover for personnel out due to COVID or caring for a sick family member or child that is home remote learning; and supplies that we took for granted would arrive in a day, were backlogged indefinitely.

However staffing and supply ordering for “just in case” will give us future benefits even after the pandemic is behind us. Not only will it allow for coverage for employees to take much needed vacation time to recharge and spend with loved ones, it will also allow for the capacity to better train workers on-the-job and coverage for when staff need time for classes/certifications/etc. Having a back-up of essential supplies will give us more wiggle room if shipments run late or supplies are backlogged in the future.

Creativity Was Unleashed

What all of these changes required in 2020 was a dose of creativity. We had to look at our organizations in new and different ways. We had to consider new sales channels, new suppliers, new policies and procedures in the workplace. These changes may have been uncomfortable, but we adapted and learned that we could survive – and even thrive. As markets open up, we should continue to use creative thinking to expand our customer base, better respond to employee needs and create manufacturing efficiencies throughout our businesses.

As painful as it was to make our way through 2020, we learned an awful lot about our businesses, our staff and ourselves. Use this knowledge to make 2021 and beyond more caring, more flexible, more creative and more successful! Here’s to a very Happy New Year!


To Make Real Change Happen, Embrace The Joy Of Pain
By Michael Canic September 1, 2020

Short-Term Pain, Long-Term Gain: Turning 2020 Lessons Learned into a Competitive Advantage for 2021
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 By Ann Condon, Marketing Manager

Ann Condon has been with Dion for 16 years, working in Dion’s Marketing and Business Development Department. Although this was her first position with a jewelry manufacturer, she has learned a lot over the years. Ann enjoys getting involved in “All Things Dion” from volunteering at the Dion Golf Tournament to being a part of the Dion Diamonds Relay for Life Team. She has quite a number of Dion event t-shirts to show for it!