“Pandemic Pivot”: I recently heard this phrase from a friend, and I loved it – it acknowledges the situation, yet it puts a positive spin on it. As I have mentioned in the past couple of weeks, COVID-19 is forcing a change. We can resist it, or we can embrace it to push us in a new direction.
A pandemic pivot can be personal, and it can also apply to our companies. How will your company need to change to leverage the changes that COVID-19 is forcing? How can we grow stronger? It is worthwhile to look at a pivot from a variety of perspectives.
Is your company ready for remote work? Are your systems cloud-based? Can your sales process be handled online?
As this same friend told me, technology is not a vertical industry – it is a horizontal reality that provides industries more capabilities. Right now is the ideal time to take advantage of everything that technology has to offer. Not only do we have time to test and upgrade our information technology, but implementation might also be easier.
One of the biggest problems during the information system implementations that I have worked on has been the resistance to change that often comes with new technology. In a time when we need the solutions to help us keep working, those in your company will readily try out new information systems that will help everyone operate and collaborate more efficiently. For some immediate exploration areas, consider project management software like Trello, Asana, or Wrike. For online accounting and ERP systems, you can look at Sage, Financial Force, or NetSuite. And apps like Slack, Twist, or Google Hangouts can improve your communication.
Products and Your Clients
What new products can you offer that will immediately solve problems for your customers? What can you add on to your services to create a better overall experience? How can your communication shift to give your customers a better experience? How can you support your clients?
You may be offering great products that may not be selling as well in the middle of this situation. If that is your reality or if you simply want to grow, you can take this opportunity to see how you can improve your products. Your clients will be more willing to accept digital solutions. If your industry, like mine, has been typically one of the late adopters of technology, you can take advantage of the fact that customers are now ready, and they want those options.
It is also an important time to listen. So much is changing that we need to make sure we are receiving timely feedback. This situation is asking us to be more perceptive than we have ever been.
To that end, we recently sent out a survey to our clients to see how we could better help them through this situation. One of the things we noticed was that our apartment residents did not want to leave their homes. So we started facilitating food providers – vegetable, meat, and bread sellers, for example – to come to our buildings to sell their products. People only had to go to their lobby to buy their products without leaving their buildings. We are still listening and keeping our ears on the ground to see how we can improve people’s experiences.
How can you support your team through this situation? Can you create new linkages and conversations that would not have been typical in the past?
Again, listening is important because what was relevant before may no longer be the case. By connecting with our teams, we can see how we can best assist them through these times.
Communication is also changing. To be able to collaborate in a remote environment, we are all adopting new tools. It may not seem like this additional investment is paying off right away, especially if it feels like we are merely surviving right now.
Yet, the conditions that we create for collaboration will help our teams support and get to know each other better. Such a significant event like this pandemic created a common experience between everyone that went through it together and will create a stronger team. As leaders, the more we facilitate those links and collaboration, the more profound the built relationships will be for our teams.
What is your pandemic pivot?