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Embracing vulnerability

By Sarah Pettinger

Embarking on our Omobono 2.0 journey has given us a toolkit to draw on in this challenging time. We will draw on everything we have learnt to help you find a way forward during this period of huge uncertainty too.

Our industry will change, our companies will change but perhaps, if we can channel those feelings of vulnerability into courage, those changes will be for the better. 



Last year we set off on a journey that we call Omobono 2.0. We did so because we’d reached a point where we felt a bit stuck; we knew we could be better than we were and we knew we needed to be better if we were going to thrive in a world of political, environmental and economic change and uncertainty.   

Little did we know when we first sat down with Mack Fogelson, who has coached us on this journey, what was really coming down the road and how we would need to draw on everything we would go on to learn as we steer into a new reality of remote working, self-isolation and global uncertainty.  

It feels like we’ve spent the last seven months preparing; we just didn’t know at the time what we were really preparing for. Over the coming weeks our systems, our ways of working and our mental health will be pushed. Through our work on Omobono 2.0 we’ve become equipped with a toolkit to help us, and our clients, through some of the challenges that we’re experiencing right now and the challenges that certainly lie ahead. Here’s what we have been doing:   

  • Our teams are not trying to plan their way out of the discomfort of uncertainty. Whether it’s internally (in the ways we’re planning our response to what’s happening for our business) or with clients (in how we are helping them find the right steps when events are cancelled or sales pipelines shift) we are not trying to predict the future. We are not planning in an attempt to create certainty where there is none; instead we are making informed small moves that respond to what’s happening.  
  • We’re communicating as much as possible, honestly and openly, with each other and our clients. There is no point in pretending that people don’t have fears and questions about the future at a time like this. We’re committed to sharing what we know, what we’re considering and answering questions honestly. 
  • We are being our whole selves. For me that means being honest about the time pressures when my husband and I are now both trying to work at home whilst educating a 7 year old and entertaining a 4 year old, for others that might mean being honest about the isolation of working alone and living alone and needing to connect with people. For all of us it means being honest about how we are feeling, what we need and taking opportunities to connect and support each other.  
  • We are working hard at working remotely. Our teams already work across three offices and we have become better at working remotely through check-ins, more structured and more purposeful meetings. We’re drawing on all these skills as we test remote working to its limit. Our new systems mean we’re not replying on email but able to hold productive virtual meetings, chat on Teams, talk to each other, share snaps of our ‘at home’ work set ups and anything funny to get us through the long days!   
  • We are making time to connect. Today we held an extraordinary all company meeting on Teams where we shared creative work from around the agency. It was inspiring and uplifting in equal measures as our presenters passed around our offices seamlessly and we used chat to ask questions and give running feedback about the work shared. I felt proud of our work, proud of our people and part of a global community  We’re managing to remember what it means to be human, what humans need to survive and to thrive; we’re there for each other.  

 Yesterday morning I took myself away from the chaos of my household and had a moment. I felt overwhelmed – by the news, by my rapidly changing circumstances, by people’s kindness and generosity, by making the right decisions to inform and support a company of amazing people about whom I care deeply. I felt lucky, I am in a better position than many, but I also felt scared and vulnerable. I remembered what I now know about vulnerability:  

 “The definition of vulnerability is uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. But vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our most accurate measure of courage.” Brené Brown 

 So, if you are a client, partner or friend of Omobono, please know that you are not alone in your home office/dining room/living room/bedroom. We are here and we will draw on everything we have learnt to help you find a way forward during this period of huge uncertainty too. We all feel vulnerable at the moment and it is easy to feel overwhelmed by those feelings. Our industry will change, our companies will change but perhaps, if we can channel those feelings of vulnerability into courage, those changes will be for the better. We will continue to help clients find new solutions to new challenges. Please get in touch if you need our support. 

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

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