“If the rate of change outside your business is greater than the rate of change inside your business, then you’re out of business.” – Anonymous
If you don’t like change, then 2020 and 2021, so far at least, haven’t been for you. So many things have been different about our lives that we’ve lost track of them all. Some of those changes may go away in the coming months, but some of them will be some form of permanent.
If your business was successful prior to COVID, and now much of the world is and will be vastly different, then it seems reasonable to ask if your business will continue to be successful in that new environment. What has changed in your marketplace? What has changed in terms of customer needs or buying decisions? What has changed in terms of your employees?
I asked a leader whom I respect those questions recently, and her answer was basically that it’s too soon to tell. That’s maybe true for her, and it’s probably true for other businesses as well. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least be thinking about the questions.
At the very least, now might be a good time for some kind of state-of-the-union moment. Think about products, people, customers, etc. What’s changed over the past 15 months? Do you believe those changes will be permanent? Why do you believe that? If those changes are permanent, then what does that mean for the business? Are there products that require more of our attention? Or less? Do we have a potential issue regarding our people? Or maybe some opportunities?
There is no single, correct answer to those questions. Every business is different, and each situation is unique. The only incorrect part is not asking those questions. As we head out of the craziest time most of us have ever lived through – so far – we can’t just tell ourselves that we’ll all go back to exactly the way we were in early 2020.
So get your best people together, however that looks in your part of the world, and think about that stuff. Think about what’s changed, what’s still changing, and how you’re going to respond. Better yet, think about what may yet change, and how you’re going to get in front of it.
Rarely in life do we get to hit the reset button. Now, to a large degree, we have that chance. Don’t waste it by wishing for circumstances that no longer exist. Make the most of it by taking advantage of circumstances as they now are.