It’s been an incredibly intense few months at THP, without a single day off. But it’s been necessary to make sure that we could pull off the government’s three-on-the-spot policy and kept our factories running safely and smoothly during the lockdown, which has just ended and we are approaching the new normal.

Many factories around us had to close, but THP did not and we are very proud of the way that everyone handled sleeping, eating and working at the factory for 105 days solid.

It was not easy for all concerned. But as I’ve written on this blog many times before, THP’s seven core values helped us all to get through this intensely challenging period.

The seven values are so deeply embedded that they’ve become instinctive. They enabled us all to pull together and demonstrate considerable flexibility to keep the production lines running. I think that the Vietnamese people’s sense of collective action also helped.

Many Westerners value individuality, as do an increasingly large number of young Vietnamese. But there remains a collectivist mindset that puts the needs of the group first.

We are now entering a different phase. The lockdown is over and it’s all about the new normal which means living with the virus – safely.

This has brought new challenges and we’ve rolled out new measures to meet them. For the time being, we are not bringing the majority of our 5,000 employees back into the office. They remain working from home and meetings are conducted online where possible.

Anyone who comes into the factory or the office has to adhere to the government’s 5K protocol: khẩu trang (wear a face mask), khử khuẩn (disinfect), khoảng cách (two-metre distance), không tụ tập (no gatherings) and khai báo y tế (fill in the health declaration form).

As life returns to some form of normality, it will hopefully feel less like a war, which necessitates more of a command and control structure. Instead, there will be greater emphasis on individuals taking responsibility for their own behaviour.

We always train our employees that accountability starts with self. Historically that meant not shifting the blame onto others when things go wrong.

In this current situation, it’s about being aware of what you’re doing and taking responsibility for your actions so that you keep yourself and everyone else around you as safe as possible.

As we look to the future with more hope, we’re well aware that the past few months have taken a physical and mental toll on a lot of people. But one advantage that THP has is its own products, Dr Thanh’s Cooling Tea and Dr Thanh’s Cooling Tea Sugar Free made from nine herbal ingredients.

This product is designed to help re-balance and detox the body. It has a cooling effect (yin) to balance internal heat (yang) and is especially good for stress. Every staff member has received one bottle of the sugar-free version every day. It’s been very satisfying seeing the difference created!

You can also read more about the resilience which has been running inside THP’s vein since its inception, take a look at my book, “Competing With Giants”