In times of crisis, calamity, and/or disaster, we turn to the people that we trust to get advice, feedback, or correct information.
The Internet and the public space have churned in enormous amount of the same information regurgitated in many forms and at various levels.
After the first few weeks of the pandemic, none of them is useful anymore.
The world had moved on and the people have coped well despite the initial fear and chaos.
We don't need a crystal ball or sooth sayers. We need independent thinkers.
Now, it is imperative to reimagine organizations that can progress past-COVID19, in a new dispensation that does not respect past records of success.
There are two types of organizations responding well to post-recovery:
One type of organization refuses to get behind the public path to recovery and have chosen to enact their own norms and policies that demonstrate clear strategic awareness of their organizational capabilities and understanding of the dynamics around them. They have made 'lemonades out of the lemons' and unafraid to keep on reinventing themselves to get the right challenge they need.
Another type of organization is preparing themselves to have multiple capabilities on various types of implementation and service delivery. At the granular level, it means that staff will be competent whatever the next 6 to 12 months will be. There is no more postponement or cancellation of programming, but all will be migrated to virtual delivery. The knee-jerk reaction is over.
Going above the noise of recovery is a challenge in itself. This means that leaders should have the clarity of intent and objectives with the latest information on what's allowable and not. The rest hinges on the boldness of their imagination.
The Gloomy Facts in Canada:
1M job losses in March.
2M job losses in April.
More facts to come as we learn more about the state of the economy in the new few months. This the new volatile world.
With these sordid facts, we can hypothesize the following scenarios:
Some businesses and organizations will not survive. This is a fact. Take the case of the Army & Navy.
Some businesses and organizations are still on stabilization and will do a 'wait-and-see" until this is completely over. This is a sad fact when they can start looking up. They are missing a lot of opportunities.
Some businesses and organizations in certain industries are making a killing. They are immune or some are more in demand in this time. What does it say about that-there are inequalities of impacts and unexpected opportunities for some! That is a fact too.
Some businesses and organizations are hell-bent on maximizing this new environment and are up re-rigging continuously until they find the right balance between what works now and what will work in the new future. This is the new fact.
Where are you in this spectrum?
Are you in the first, second, third, or fourth group?
Your current responses dictate your future. Your past successes do not translate to your future success.
Talk to me if you want to be in the fourth group.
Recently, the Alberta Government has released its Reopen Strategy to the public. One thing that did not surprise me is that, reopening is coming sooner that we thought.
Despite the fear and the trepidation felt by some quarters, businesses and institutions will have to reopen due to economic pressures brought by the lockdown. Easing slowly creates the activities we need to get our economy back on its feet or legs again.
Businesses identified to resume operations as early as May 4th will have to be, not just ready for slow but steady resumption of work, but also anticipate that this is a soft relaunch.
The following soft reopen can lead to further intelligence in terms of:
- modification of activities designed for new, emerging, and different demand from customers and clients
-sudden surge or slow demand or uptake for current services and programs
-continued communications to stakeholders about where you are in your transition
-preparation for eventual redeployment of staff-in-waiting or further laying off of unwanted labor
-new configuration of work, a blended approach to having both remote/online order/curb side and steady dine-in/personal in-person contact
- retooling of the business model to account for the new business order
-revisiting of the business strategy in view of these new realities
What are you thinking about right now that will help you get on with business-unusual faster than your competition? Doing a wait-and-see is a cop-out.
Let me help you now.
If you think that waiting is a good strategy moving forward, it's not.
There are tremendous missed opportunities by simply staying on status quo in this time when there is high volatility and less certainty.
There are opportunities that can be mined and exploited to the fullest.
-Opportunities to strengthen your customer relations; remote transactions and relationship
-Opportunities to make a difference , i.e. Subway's food bank, Google's help in combating disinformation
-Opportunities to lead in the market, United Way's approach to community funding
-Opportunities to learn about the new dynamics of the market and look out for new behaviors and trends on emerging issues; Chamber of Commerce Survey
-Opportunities to encourage and promote productivity and health; i.e. organizations promoting mental health and positivity;
-Opportunities to ramp up your online marketing and branding;
-Opportunities to think about things that you needed to do, when this pandemic is over, i.e. long-term, non-linear visioning
There are many positive opportunities that you are not simply thinking about being mired in a day-t0-day survival and coping mode.
It's time to start to be opportunity-focused with the new normal.
It's here. It's now. It's changing every day.
This week, I hosted and facilitated a strategic conversation with business owners, entrepreneurs, and executives of associations and service programs in Central Alberta.
Riding the waves of recovery is a fascinating subject, but combined with the insights of surfing, it generated more visual appeal than anything related to riding on the waves. I am not a surfer by any means but there are clear and compelling insights about surfing that can be applied in business and life.
For beginners, you need to consider the following:
1. Health- you need to be in good shape, young and old can quickly adapt to the physicality of the sport. Some sports like snowboarding and swimming are already in the league . In business, your fundamentals must be in good shape. If 'cash is king,' know how to get short-term cash by extending your value to your customers, increasing your offering, and getting better at repeat business.
2. Skills and capacities-you need to be a good swimmer to be safe and have fun doing the sport. Knowing your capacity will help you upgrade your skill and learn to remediate. You can't fake your way into the game unless you have the capacities to deal with different scenarios, starting small and learning as you go. Same is true with business owners who do not have the basic skills in marketing, branding, asking for the sale, and management of key staff and assets. Do you have the right team aboard? Do you keep abreast of current trends and information about your target markets?
3. Go where the waves are-go where the waves are but stay away from crowded areas. You need to go where there are less people to practice your work and allows for quick feedback that can improve your performance. Staying safe and having fun while learning is the best environment. In tough economic times, look for opportunities that are occasionally missed because they are not 'sexy' or normally considered a profitable segment or niche.
4. Best tools you need-is it for gliding and recreation or is it for meeting big waves? There are tools you need to be able to perform properly and optimally. Some of these are equipment and tools and some are expert advisors you need to have so that you get the best information that is catered to your unique needs.
5. Judging the opportunity- a skilled surfer they say should be familiar with waves, how they are produced, the effect on the ocean, and the kinds of safety measures you have to do to maneuver into situations that are not expected. As Dixon would say, "surfers are alert for the unexpected at all times." Experienced ones can be on top of the waves one minute and can stay back, holding their ego in check when conditions are not favorable.
Riding the waves of recovery is a science and an art in itself. Instead of accepting that a wipeout is looming and that you will be at the bottom of the ocean again, consider using these strategies to take control and navigate the complexity of the situation on your advantage. Positivity as a mindset is contagious that it can create a better environment for your team and your workplace.
Not all opportunities are equal.
There are opportunities that are just right for your organization and opportunities that you should overlook because
1) it is not enough to be a sustainable venture;
2) it takes an enormous amount of time, effort, and monies to get it off on the ground and even maintain;
3) it doesn't represent your current wheelhouse and departing from what works could get you distracted and confused;
4) it is a fake opportunity, a carrot being dangled without the evidence of its real value and feasibility;
5) you are overreading into the situation.
Not all ideas are germane as business opportunities. Not all offers or interests should be taken seriously.
Test them diligently and be sure that they represent most viable vehicle towards your ultimate goals. Know the people that you are talking with or will work with and check their track record of success or achievement.
There are no shortcuts to careful thought and consideration of the issues that you weigh in. The real value versus the actual costs of making those investments including the time it will take to get it fully completed, should not be underestimated. Most of the time, new projects and initiatives collapse under their own weight putting too much at the beginning when it is important to be light on the foot and formless when things are in flux. If you are not the decision-maker, it is better to be flexible and adaptive, listening to counsel and opinions of those that can make it or break it.
Remember to be positively inactive when there is no need to take action, especially when the gains are far less than they tend to appear.