Doing business the old way is obsolete. Those who have adapted quickly have generated growth in times of uncertainty.
Every business and association in April grasped to understand a new way to conduct business. First, uncertainty found every CEO, Executive Director and employee squarely in the face. Second, leaders had to step into the unknown and make decisions without knowing what the next few months would hold.
Moreover the song from the Disney Frozen II movie Into The Unknown , was vibrating in the minds of leaders. Those that followed the voice into the unknown were willing to embrace it for potential growth.
In addition to following the voice, effective leaders accepted uncertainty.
“If uncertainty is unacceptable to you, it turns into fear. If it is perfectly acceptable, it turns into increased aliveness, alertness, and creativity.” – Eckhart Tolle
No matter where your business or association is today, you can add growth by implementing the four pillars of growth.
Pillar #1 – Be Flexible
Are you a person who is enjoys being in control? In other words you enjoy routine and thrive on processes to help you achieve. Well, thanks to Covid, routines and processes were eradicated overnight and you were forced to find a new routine, which may have changed daily.
The most important skill to thrive in uncertainty is to be flexible! I enjoy having a standard way of doing things and pre Covid, my daughter went to school and I went to an office during the day.
The schools closed indefinitely and I was forced to work at home. For those with kids, do you remember what life was like in March and April?
One word can describe it for those who had to be teacher and work a job out of the home – UNPREPARED.
I was now doing sixth grade math, helping with art projects, conducting science projects with my daughter and helping her thrive in her new world, while somehow working a job from home.
Adjusting my schedule and becoming flexible was critical to creating a sense of calmness at home.
If you become more flexible, it releases the pressure to perform in the rigid routine we all had become accustom too.
As you lead your organization, ask yourself, “How can being more flexible benefit my staff and company?” If the responses are positive choose to move towards flexibility. The next pillar requires creativity.
Pillar # 2 – Transform
In the state of Covid, I have seen companies transform the way they operate.
When you think of food trucks, where have you seen them parked? Most likely at festivals, by office buildings, or places where large crowds are. No crowds, no outdoor festivals and buildings being empty eliminated their customer base.
Creativity kicked in and food truck owners began to come to where the people are. Sammy’s who serves craft burgers in the Cincinnati, Ohio area began to park their food truck in local neighborhoods. And guess what? People were eager to get out of their house and visit the food truck.
Transformation occurred as business and associations were forced to think differently. In this Forbes article, entitled, “10 Examples Of How Covid Forced 19 Business Transformations”, it shares the ingenuity of leaders to find a way.
Did you ever of hear of curb side pick up pre Covid?
What comes to mind is some restaurants and grocery retailers were offering this service. Today this service has been opened at retailers such as: Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods and DSW just to name a few.
Transformation occurs when leaders step into the unknown and lead with curiosity, so their organization stays relevant and most importantly open.
Have you ever just waited on the phone to be connect to customer service and a tech voice speaks, “The waiting time is 10 minutes.” and you just hit the speaker on your phone and decide to wait?
I’m sure you can relate. In the midst of Covid and states in lock down, the need for customer support has risen beyond any time in history.
Businesses were scrambling to figure out how to increase customer support due to the insurgence of calls. Call centers were forced to shift to virtual in a short amount of time.
In an article entitled , COVID-19 Crisis Accelerates Rise Of Virtual Call Center, showcases how T-Mobile went to a virtual call center format in two and a half weeks.
The need to transform your customer support and raise your connectivity to your customers and clients, is required in the midst of the unknown for growth.
Therefore, businesses and associations who step up the level of customer service can gain additional customers and loyalty, while going up and above traditional support.
Would you be willing to drive 1,250 miles overnight to deliver packages if you were a UPS Store Owner? UPS Store Owner, Ardeshir Agahi, did this to ensure packages were delivered on time for a customer.
What is your business or association doing to deliver exceptional customer service today?
In the center of uncertainty, leaders must be willing to listen. Stephen Covey said, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
For instance, have you been on a Zoom or Teams meeting and you wanted to immediately respond without fully listening? Come on be honest with yourself. I know I’ve been guilty of listening with the intent to reply versus listening to understand.
Furthermore taking the time to listen with understanding is critical in operating in the state of uncertainty.
What would occur if you took the time to listen with understanding to your staff, employees, vendors, clients and board? Do you feel it would add value and assist in generating growth in your business or association?
Sadly, many business and associations never make it a priority to listen to its most value asset for growth; the employees.
When was the last time your company or association conducted a pulse survey?
The Pulse Survey
A pulse survey is a condensed series of questions conducted on a relatively frequent basis, designed to track and respond to an issue or topic over a period of time.
Thanks to Covid, your business or association could be in rapid growth and outwardly things are great, meanwhile the pulse is slowing down.
Lack of a heart beat will eventually depress growth and erode culture.
When was the last time your organization held a pulse survey?
While some of your control has been taken away due to Covid, your business and association still have choices to make in the wake of uncertainty. Will you cast aside the pillars given you already know them or will you take a deep look within and see what else is possible?
Jim Collins, author of Good To Great said, “Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice and discipline.”
Make the conscious choices to cultivate these pillars into growth for your organization.
PS – Do you know the seven things your employees need to hear you say? Find out what they are here.