Happy May Day! This pic popped into my photo memories from 5 years ago – what a difference half a decade makes! Then, the image symbolised growth and joy. Now, it seems to represent the confusion that we are all living with.
May 1 has a varied history, with different cultures celebrating different things. In the Northern Hemisphere, it’s the start of Spring. Downunder, we’re 2/3 of the way through Autumn (or Fall for my American friends).
For the Celts, May 1st was Beltane. It symbolised the year divided in half, between the light and the dark. Fire was an important element of the rituals of the festival, helping to celebrate the return of life and fertility to the world. At my place, at the moment, fire is an essential way to stay warm!
The Romans have a five-day celebration, from late April to early May. Known as Floralia, it was devoted to the worship of the goddess of flowers, Flora. From my perspective, at the start of our winter, this sounds like a lovely idea!
In the 19th century, May Day took on a new meaning. The labour movement for worker’s rights started. President Ulysses Grant issued a proclamation of an eight-hour workday in the United States, on May 1st 1869. This lead to May Day also being known as “International Workers’ Day”.
So, what does all this mean for Leaders? Based on history, May can definitely be a time of transformation. During the current Covid-19 pandemic, transformation is being somewhat forced on us, so we have a choice. We can wait until we are pushed into a corner, or actively reinvent our businesses and ourselves. Elements like our opening hours, operations and offerings can be adjusted to deliver better outcomes for our customers (and our teams). This can take us beyond “coping with Covid” to thriving in this strange new world!