Don’t make decisions out of desperation. Slow down and take the time to gather your thoughts and assess the current situation as the crisis that you are experiencing now might actually be the best time for a life-changing decision making.
Well, in recent weeks, COVID-19 has brought frequent changes to business operations and people’s careers but they weren’t aren’t all bad. Because often, a crisis can actually drive successful changes for a business.
For example, we see management leaders who are coming up with strategies on how to best protect their employees and how to safely continue to provide their services to their customers. Whether these strategies mean that they need to stockpile on hand sanitizers and face masks or learn how to conduct meetings online. They are just one of many solutions that businesses do to continue their operations.
However, it is true that every sector of the economy was forced to pivot. Schools and universities are going virtual. Restaurant or entertainment streets are deserted. Sporting and movie releases are also being cancelled and business travels and conferences are being done online.
For now, companies have responded with temporary measures that aim to slow the spread of the virus. They are enforcing social distancing at work and are encouraging people to work from home. Although others are merely waiting for the pandemic to be over and are closing up shop until further notice.
However, with the uncertainty about the spread of the virus and how quickly it’s moving from one community to the next, these threats and anxiety might be pushing everyone to make short-sighted decisions.
Stress, pressure, and time constraints does affect our ability to make the right choices in a pinch but this is exactly what you want to avoid. You’d want the decision that you are making now to be something you won’t regret in the future.
This is why businesses should make the most of COVID-19 to prepare for their long-term emergencies as this pandemic won’t likely be the last.
Let’s rethink how you work and how you organize business by seeking inspiration from some of the successful innovation and changes other businesses have made during a crisis.
I. SUCCESSFUL INNOVATION AND CHANGE DURING CRISIS
As a business leader, we understand that successes do come to those who make changes to their offerings or operations during a time of uncertainty.
And as the novel coronavirus has caused difficulties for millions of businesses from niche manufacturers, family-owned businesses and multinational companies. The old ways of operating clearly won’t work for most business operations.
However, as promised there are potential upside if you do your research. These economic disruptions can actually provide managers and owners to think outside the box and pivot in a manner that they can stay open or afloat until things turn around for the better.
The idea is to simply add value and update your existing business model to make life-changing decision making during a crisis.
INNOVATORS AROUND THE GLOBE
We can’t everything on this list however, we’ll mention five of the best innovators who pivoted their businesses during this pandemic.
- From shirt production to make non-medical masks.
Kenny Flowers, a clothing and lifestyle eCommerce brand who are best known for their Hawaiian-inspired shirts, matching couple swimwear and the like have transitioned their Bali factory from shirt production to making non-medical lifestyle masks.
They sold out their limited first run right away through a “Buy one, Donate One” campaign where the rest of their proceeds were donated to help fund medical equipment for the frontliners.
- From an alcoholic distillery into hand sanitizer formulation.
Buzzballs is an alcoholic beverage company and is the only woman owned distillery and winery in the U.S.
Their president was encouraged to pivot her business in line with her membership in the Women Presidents Organization which has partnered with the medical community to abate the coronavirus pandemic.
With the WHO and CDC waving the permit to manufacture the needed hand sanitizer formulation. The alcoholic distillery used its raw materials to create a hand sanitizer.
The first batch was distributed to 14 hospitals that were in critical need. And others to the supermarket, Universities and even the Army and Air Force. In turn, the employees still have their job and are happily working to help the front liners
- From a cafe concept to a grocery store.
Owners or an organic sourdough bakery in a ski resort in Canada were originally selling out baked goods every day. But when the ski resort shut down, they knew that they could no longer operate any more as it was too much at risk for public health and safety.
Although most of the staff were laid off and most went back to their hometown, the bakery decided to set up an ecommerce store.
On that platform, they created and sold gift cards, and they are selling their bread through the website with a pick-up in-store appointment service.
They are keeping their regular customers supplied with healthy organic bread thus increasing their loyalty to the brand. And they are also building and selling flour and recipe books that people can bake at home. They’ll be adding more grocery items such as marinated olives and locally made hot sauce.
- Launching a network for those affected by layoffs.
Drafted is a small startup that assists large companies to hire through the company network. When COVID-19 came, it became apparent that a lot of their customers would want to find a job for those they’ve laid off.
In 10 days, they built the Layoff Network where Fortune 500 companies have used to recruit talent from a growing 2,000 users on their app.
The Layoff Network is free to use during the crisis and it is expected to be the beginning of something bigger and better.
Although it is a non-revenue generating project, they believe that it’s the right thing to do for the short term and they just hope that people will remember what they did when the market turns for the better.
- Shifted in-person art classes to YouTube.
Art Classes for Kids, the leading educational center provides lessons for children on fine art. However, just like most businesses COVID-19 has prevented them from teaching their lessons on site.
So, they pivoted their art classes to YouTube. And they have been successful in reaching a wider audience and help bring out the children’s much needed creative outlet during the lockdown.
There are a lot of kids that love to consume digital content in their own time. With that knowledge, children who need to be creative when they want can simply look them up and learn. Once in-person classes resumes, Art Classes for Kids are thrilled to add this virtual setting to their services.
SEEING THE SYSTEM DIFFERENTLY
As we’ve mentioned before, a crisis can help guide you make life-changing decision making and it’s not always going to be bad. A crisis can help put a spotlight on your vulnerabilities that you have been ignoring or was unaware of.
And leaders who focus the energy of its workforce towards a clear purpose in functioning or even solving the crisis can find themselves more than new ideas but aso insights that can help them push forward.
II. MANAGEMENT PRACTICES THAT WILL CHANGE FOREVER
With the changes on how we do business mentioned above, there’s bound to be management practices that will change post-COVID-19.
Some of these changes will be profound for individuals and organizations but only a few would want to look back on old-school management practices. Here are three management practices that will change forever:
- Remote Work and Online Tools will Become the Norm
Working from home will soon be the norm for most workers. There’s a thought going around that while people will miss the social aspects of work, the virtual world is pretty effective and efficient.
Currently, there have been plenty of firms who have adopted a fully digital customer experience before COVID-19 but the number of users who are using technology today is unprecedented and is bound to inspire the rise to new tools and technology.
It is already happening and will continue to do so in the future. Remote technologies will benefit from this mass adoption and it will drive only to increase the efficiency and response of an employee and customer expectations.
Although discipline will be something employees need to work on and managers still have the belief that people won’t be as efficient especially if they aren’t supervised.
However, the final barriers of remote working have been torn down thanks to the crisis and after COVID-19 most of them would probably want to remain working at home.
- Transparency on Risks and Finances is Expected
We are entering into an era where we will face the consequences of under sharing and oversharing.
Gone are the days where your employees will blindly work for a trade hoping that their organization is faring “well” on the market.
They will be demanding and expecting clear visibility into your strategy to remain afloat and understand the overall performance as they will need that reassurance as it will impact the bigger picture and their performance on work.
- The Supervision Mentality Will Be Replaced by a Coaching Approach
If you still need to supervise your people to ensure that they are doing their job, your system is deemed to be faulty or you may have hired the wrong people.
Your managers and supervisors are there to teach, train and allow people to control their work. And research shows that coaching is a critical component in helping teams to perform at a higher level.
Your managers must shift their focus on strengthening an individual and groups as it is an essential part of managing your people in order to move forward.
Although old processes can be difficult to let go. Educating and coaching will be essential for you to bring in new skills and mentality.
III. Life-Changing Decision Successful and Happy People Make
Successful entrepreneurs are some of the happiest people in the world. They may be busy but they are happy and fulfilled. They work harder than most and they reinvent themselves in more ways than one.
They are also incredibly competitive and motivated to accomplish their goals. However, it does take more than hardwork in order to reach success and happiness.
Although what truly sets them apart is the courage to gather their resources and risk starting their own business. But let’s make it complicated and let’s view success as a sum of smart choices.
For successful entrepreneurs, there are characteristics and motivation that we can learn from them to help us rise to the top. Let’s take a look at these top three traits:
- Failure isn’t an option.
We know that Elon Musk has become one of the most prominent entrepreneurs to fit this trait when SpaceX and Tesla almost went bankrupt two days before Christmas.
“SpaceX is alive by the skin of its teeth, and so is Tesla – if things had just gone a little differently, both companies would be dead,” says Elon Musk.
However, Elon Musk never gave up. He never considered failure as a possibility because he believed that the setbacks he faced were necessary in order to achieve his goal of making mankind a multi-planetary species.
He takes these failures as lessons to be learned from which fuels his passion in pursuit of a greater purpose.
Your dream doesn’t need to be as big as Elon’s but the bottomline is that you are committed to your goals. It is by being committed that one can ensure their success. As even if you encounter a magnitude of failures, you’ll think of them as nothing but a speed bump to help you along your journey.
- Pursue meaning
Money doesn’t give you happiness, purpose does. When you have finally achieved your goal of being rich, your journey for that road is over but it doesn’t stop there. You’ll find yourself in search of a greater purpose because if your work isn’t meaningful enough for you, you likely won’t stick with it in the long run.
Perhaps you are motivated to help others, or you want to provide inheritance wealth to your family. However, finding the answer to your purpose is the secret to keeping your success. The more meaningful your purpose is than your personal goals, you’ll be much more motivated to continue even in the face of adversity.
- Rigorously prioritize
The most successful entrepreneurs know the value of their time. They ask themselves the question if what they are doing right now is the most effective use of their limited time on earth.
This is why they schedule, plan and rigorously prioritize as they want to allocate their time into uncovering what they should be doing in their business.
They don’t waste their hours on tasks that aren’t within their core competencies but rather they bring in people or partners to complement their abilities so that they can focus on delivering as much value as they can to themselves, their clients, partners and customers.
IV. Creating Opportunities in Time of Crisis
Did you know that in the Chinese and Japanese Kanji characters, the word crisis is written with two symbols that represent ‘danger’ and ‘opportunity’.
The truth is that while every crisis is unsettling, it also contains the seeds of an opportunity. So when we face a crisis, we need to remember to ask ourselves three things to keep a level head:
- How do we cope with the crisis?
- What opportunities does this crisis create?
- What can be done to anticipate and remedy these events in the future?
While most of us focus on the first question which has something to do with our immediate survival, we mustn’t forget to map out the new reality.
Whether how it has affected the economy and its sectors or pondering how to pivot during these trying times.
While pondering these impacts and solutions, there are some guidelines in place to transform a crisis into an opportunity.
- Change your Perspective
First, we must view the situation as a short-term necessary disruption that we should leave behind as soon as possible.
Because to fix a problem we need to recognize that it exists and there is nothing to do but to work our way through it or around it. But there is no changing the situation.
- Invest in Digital transformation
While there are businesses that can’t function online such as spas and hair salons, however, if the physical world is shutting down. Then moving your business digitally in any way can help you stay afloat until the situation improves.
- Identify new business opportunities
One way to spot new opportunities is to creatively address the people’s fears and lack of trust. What is it that your customers are looking for?
Build your strategy around it as usually your answer lies in the problems you are facing.
- Reexamine your talents
While letting people go is a difficult and sensitive thing to do. There have been companies who needed to run in a skeletal workforce and have succeeded in order to succeed in the 21st century.
You can build a new talent strategy around a small core of full-time employees that you can use to combine their talents and capabilities to spur an open innovation.
- Innovate and adopt an adaptive experimentation approach
Taking calculated risk and experimentation are a must in today’s situation. You have to innovate everything that you do and not limit it to your products but also your organizational structure.
You cannot do everything at once though. Given the uncertainties during a crisis, the only way you can learn is to continuously improve what you are doing. And that is only achievable through experimentation.
Role of Leadership
In order to work well during a crisis, you’ll need to enhance your capabilities. You will also be forced to address how to meet your leadership outcomes as you are expected to manage and be responsible to your company and employees.
Remember, as a leader, you must seize the opportunity provided by this crisis. Reinforce the trust and relationships that you have with your company either through a verbal or hand-on discussion.
We are not only talking about CEOs but also leaders of business units and managers. they are the one who are likely to move quickly and provide answers and insights to the CEO.
Be courageous to take the risk. Experiment and leverage on the guidelines and insights that we provided above and learn to see the opportunities to make life-changing decision making for yourself and your business.