A few weeks ago the team at Optimum faced a major challenge as a business with the loss of the use of our internal database. How bad could it possibly be? I thought the worst day at Optimum was when the air conditioning went down and we were on the 17th floor with no windows. Well I was wrong. I cannot believe what an obstacle it threw at us. I came in Thursday ready for the day ahead and was soon told our internal database was completely down. At the time I saw it as a great excuse to get a coffee, grab my dry cleaning and share some friendly office banter. A few hours into it and the database was still not up and running. I started to panic. I had realised the extent of what this meant to our roles as consultants – there is only so much LinkedIn searching you can handle!

As a consulting business with a strong focus on recruitment, our database is an incredible library of information and an extensive tool that is heavily used and relied on day in, day out. It has over 60,000 contacts in it with phone numbers, email addresses, resumes, references and vital client information. We faced challenges like clients wanting to interview candidates with no access to their numbers to contact them. New roles were called in and we couldn’t search the database to find candidates. We lost access to Seek to post advertisements; we weren’t able to filter candidate applications and we couldn’t access our client contacts to liaise with.

Imagine if this was your business and something similar happened to you.

Could you imagine if you were on an airline and there was a fuel shortage? Or imagine being a  Payroll Manager and your accounting package goes down? Do passengers stand in the terminal or do you just not pay your employees?

On day one, naturally, we saw staff members play the blame game and constantly make excuses as to why they were unable to adequately continue to perform at full capacity as a consultant. By day five, we had become collaborative as a group, offering creative solutions and our productivity had increased dramatically. We were pushed outside of our comfort zone and had to make it happen. After all, we are a business with a service to provide.

So what happens when you heavily rely on a source to successfully do your role and you lose the greatest asset to your workplace? Do you use it as an excuse to shift the blame or do you find new and innovative ways of getting your job done?

My advice – don’t play the blame game, use your head and think outside the box. KPI’s can still be reached and productivity can still be at its fullest capacity.

Mikahla Smith – Consultant

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