Keep calm and scrap on…and on…

It is a fact our current economy is global. As we meander (or run) through each day we don’t stop to think about what would happen if the company that makes our favourite product ceased operation. We just assume it is there and always will be. We have faith in our relationship with it.

The reality is though, that at the simple click of a button, a pressure from outside which is out of our control and decisions that are made will always have the potential to send us tumbling like dominoes into a panic. Our human response to a crisis creates both good and bad behaviour. Some get angry and stay that way, some wander in the haze of the aftershock, confused and uncertain, while other’s snap into panic mode and enter into a frantic chaotic frenzy of one kind or another.

This is because we are human, we operate at some level on instinct and will do battle to save ourselves. Sometimes, unfortunately, that leads straight to greed and no care whatsoever for others. But this is not, for me at least, the norm.

The normal response to a crisis in my experience is to ask how I can help. Right here, right now – and worry about the why of it all later. We see this often in Australia. There is a house fire – the community rallies to support the family. There is a diagnosis of Cancer or other terminal illness and both the immediate and extended network of that person jumps right into action to support the patient and assist them to fight back. A nation that is struggling with financial distress, a population experiencing poverty and/or persecution, or a natural disaster such as those we have seen of late in Australia all illustrate the ‘action’ in the human response to crisis. ‘What can I do to help? ‘ is the iconic mateship we see in this country.

Of course it isn’t always like this. Unfortunately there is an opposite.

Some only care for themselves and point fingers of blame at a scapegoat and expect that entity to fix it. Some people pillage and loot, taking what they can for themselves. They find some way to take advantage of the crisis with callous disregard for the wellbeing of fellow human beings. Some just freeze, unable to get beyond shock, anger and fear for the future. I have little regard for the first of these and while I empathise with the latter.

I am a CAN DO girl. We may not have caused it, but we can certainly act in response to any crisis in a positive way. We are all capable of the more positive response to a crisis in any form and on a moral level that is what we ought to do.

By now you may be wondering why I am waffling on about this. In the last 48 hours I have faced a sudden crisis that for some is really devastating on an emotional or financial level.  I have witnessed all of the above human behaviours in varying degrees in response to it. ‘ It’ was not a flood. It was not a fire. It was not a war. Nonetheless, it is disempowering because it is caused by decisions and actions not in our control.

The company I represent when I go out into communities and run market stalls and workshops, Creative Memories Australia New Zealand, has gone into voluntary administration.

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It suffers economic illness that has the potential to be terminal. And the resounding response from those of us connected to it, I am pleased to say, is Keep calm and Scrap on. 

What is a voluntary administration?  Voluntary administration is an insolvency procedure where the directors of a financially troubled company or a secured creditor with a charge over most of the company’s assets appoint an external administrator called a ‘voluntary administrator’. The role of the voluntary administrator is to investigate the company’s affairs, to report to creditors and to recommend to creditors whether the company should enter into a deed of company arrangement, go into liquidation or be returned to the directors.  (ATSIC) 

What Happened?

In April, the parent company of Creative Memories AU NZ, Creative Memories USA entered into a bankruptcy state known as Chapter 11.

Chapter 11 is a chapter of the United States Bankruptcy Code, which permits reorganization under the bankruptcy laws of the United States.

Creative Memories USA is in financial crisis and downunder we were not expecting to become part of the solution for them. Last week, Creative Memories Australia New Zealand was put into the hands of an Administrator. Our parent company can no longer supply us with our primary goods. Its reorganization includes the cutting off of the Australian arm of its business and therefore our company is unable to function.

There is no choice. Economic surgery in is required. Voluntary Administration is not bankruptcy, but it is emergency economic surgery. This is our crisis. Employees, consultants at all levels, and customers are affected.

We can be angry and lash out, or respond with a lot of patience and hope that the surgeon (Administrator) can achieve the best outcomes for Creative Memories AU NZ to carry on.
Our company will no doubt look and feel different when it comes out of surgery.

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The leaders, who are 100% reliant on the success of the company for their livelihood, are in fight back mode. They are brainstorming, planning and seeking solutions. They are not responsible for decisions made by the administrator. They have to ride the waves. All that they worked hard for has been pulled from underneath them in the actioning of Chapter 11 in the USA.

The same can be said for Australian and New Zealand consultants at all levels. We were in the business of scrapbooking with Creative Memories for many reasons and we do not want to lose it. Similarly, the same can be said for our customers who have trusted the Consultants and the Company to deliver them top quality products and services. One other stakeholder, not to be forgotten, are the employees of the company – the pickers and packers in the warehouse, the technicians, the office girls, the trainers in the field and perhaps even the cleaners who all have families and need their job.

Australian’s are excellent at rallying in a crisis. I recall how much we admired Queensland’s Premier Blair at the time of the Queensland floods. She was calm, practical but caring, She prioritised, and called the people of the state and nation to action – and action she got. Our faith in human nature was boosted.

06_dreambig-7531Our crisis is not as ‘big’, not as pertinent to the future of our country, but it is important to us at a deeply personal level and it matters to the future of our families. We (consultants) need to act in positive ways, have some faith in the skills of the Administrator and those who are reimagining the future of the company, our leaders. We need to do as they ask us to help restructure the company to one that is economically viable so we can deliver on our statement of beliefs and restore faith in our customers.

What Now?

The majority of consultants have rallied already. It is fantastic to see.
Most of us, myself included will not sit back and wait for things to happen. Let’s face it, if we have had success in this business it is because we acted in a way to ‘make it happen’ using the tools, training and tenacity required. Our current situation is no different. Our tools are more limited at present, but our determination has already grown, our planned sharing of the mission has incredible new energy and we are fighting back any negative ‘self’ talk by staying positive and keeping calm.

108096We LOVE what we do. We believe in the power of scrapbooks and their role in the lives of people. One only needs to watch the end of the movie ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ or observe a child absorbed in a photo album, ( I recall just last week a consultant photogaphed her child who had fallen asleep with albums on his knee) or as it is in my case see the light in the eyes of my fragile and feeble mum who shares the storybook celebrating her 50 years of marriage I made her with everyone who comes through her door, to know that scrapbooking matters.

Nationwide (and further south in New Zealand) we are vowing to continue to deliver our message and support our customers to make priceless scrapbooks of their precious photos and memories. We believe in ourselves and our leaders. Our workshops are not only still on as scheduled many of us are adding more workshops for the interim while we wait for the company to recover from the crisis and be able to supply the goods we need.

Consultants are supporting each other to source products that have disappeared from the shelves in the warehouse in a frenzy of panic purchasing of our most precious product lines, the scrapbook pages and protectors and the signature tools.

Customers are rallying, supporting us by coming to workshops and even bringing in new customers in excited anticipation of what the future for their consultant might look like. By supporting us, they support their own commitment to personal scrapbooking as well as their consultant who inspires them. We thank you sincerely for your words of support and encouragement and your loyalty to our product and service.

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Consultants are being creative, finding ways to continue in this wonderful business, working for ourselves with all that direct selling offers us while we wait for what the company will evolve into. We are staying positive. We expect it might get a bit rocky (perhaps very rocky at times) but it is also very exciting to imagine the possibilities of the future for our company under the leadership of our business manager and Senior Directors.

What about my response? 

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Watch this space! More workshops, more ideas, lots of positive thinking, and lots of scrapbooking. This crisis is bringing out the best in us. Hope, journey, and fun. While we might not have all we want or think we need right now let’s make the most of what we do have.

For information about workshops, new scheduled events, ordering supplies and more please head to my website events list.  I anticipate my CM site will at some point become unavailable but in the mean time you can however go there now, browse currently available products, place an order and pay online, or message me with your order and I will endeavour to fill it. If postage is required you will need to include that cost.The next events of significance – Memoranza. May 18 Robinvale. May 19 Mildura. Bookings are essential so we can be sure you have all you need. Use the site link or email me. I already have the ‘goodies’, but the quantity is limited.

Meanwhile…dig through your stash, book into a workshop, follow me on facebook, twitter, or pinterest and most of all Keep calm and scrap on! 

 

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Jen

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