Keeping the glass half full

Well “this” was certainly not factored into the business plan when we set out on our start-up venture almost 4 months ago, but there is a certain relief that I don’t have the headaches that go with running a big company – or more specifically trying to right-size a big company for the current market. Finding the balance of running a tight ship and being an empathetic and supportive employer; while continuing to innovate and invest so you can capitalise on the upswing, is a fine art.

Personally, for my own sanity, I have to find the positives in any bad situation and be thankful for those – even if that positive is simply “well I now know not to do that again!”… If you’re not winning, you’re learning and all that…

And despite the obvious headwinds and general uncertainty, there are undoubtedly opportunities starting to surface, particularly for professionals working in business transformation. Wherever there are problems that need solving – or fires to put out – you have a potential customer who might need help.

It felt like the first couple of weeks of lockdown caught a lot of people on the back foot. Despite growing news coverage, the prospect of our lives changing to quite the extent that they have done didn’t seem possible- even in early March. However, lockdown we did get – and in many organisations, complete paralysis as business models were completely turned on their head.

Endless strategy meetings and scenario planning later, it feels like plans are starting to emerge, as companies realise that ‘doing nothing and hoping it goes away’ is not an option.

From conversations with my network over recent weeks, there are many common themes. I don’t think there are many company executives out there who wouldn’t love to:

  • have better digital sales channels
  • run more efficiently and be further ahead with their automation plans
  • have lower fixed costs and better control over their variable costs
  • have better data and more accurate insights
  • have more robust supply chains

Almost universally, priorities have been completely redefined. Vanity projects (or now irrelevant ones) have been canned and many projects that were previously on the ‘nice to do’ list, are now business-critical. Chatting to a Chief Digital Officer contact the other day, he joked that he had never been so popular in his firm – everyone wants a piece of his time!

There will be interesting times ahead, for sure, and it will no doubt be a bumpy ride, but there are significant opportunities that will come out of this for those smart enough to spot them and nimble enough to capitalise on them.

Wishing everyone in my network the best of health. Stay safe, stay sane!