Out of Control – COVID-19 Positive or Negative? You Decide

Last week I read this https://www.linkedin.com/posts/neil-oconnor-sales-trainer_betterbusiness-businesssuccess-businessgrowth-activity-6660483282377015296-eAtj post from Neil O Connor https://www.linkedin.com/in/neil-oconnor-sales-trainer/. After reading it, I immediately responded with an additional thought which in turn prompted me to think more about how some businesses are turning their focus inwards during this strange time we find ourselves in.

While taking a well-deserved break from my daily routine, I decided to scroll through Linkedin to see how people were spending their time. I came across a post by Neil O Connor, where he spoke about his passion for cycling and likened businesses getting back into full operation after the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, much like learning to ride a bike again.

As a fellow cyclist I related to Neil’s post and in my comment suggested that from what I had seen, many businesses were using this time to make micro-adjustments to their operations to improve efficiency and be more productive, much like a cyclist might make micro-adjustments to their riding position or technique to find that extra 1% performance improvement.

Being someone who spends 99% of my professional time interacting with senior business leaders, I can see a very clear divide on the approach organisations have been taking to deal with the situation they find themselves in, caused by COVID-19. I would say they largely fall into two camps:

A. Companies that have gone into dormancy and mothballed their operation following their market/customer base disappearing overnight. They hope they can stay hunkered down to wait out the storm.

B. Those that turn their focus inwards to capitalise on this, dare I say it’s an opportunity that has been presented to them.

The majority of organisations I’ve spoken to fall into Camp A, however, it is the businesses in Camp B, that I find more interesting.

Although still clearly affected by the economic crisis, they have turned a negative into positive focusing attention on their business operation to come out of this crisis period in a better position. This for me is indeed innovative thinking.

Clearly, for these organisations, this internal reflection and opportunity to allocate time and resource to improve the internal workings of their business is still very much a carefully calculated decision. It is one that must stand up as a business case, but it does allow the forward-thinking organisation’s the time to identify areas of the business that they can adapt, tweak or improve, in preparation to hit the ground running, and importantly be in a stronger position to meet any future challenges.

When considering projects I have worked on, one of the biggest challenges faced is the customer not having enough dedicated resource to commit to the various areas of the project implementation. Front line delivery of operational need always comes first, and rightly so, but so many projects fail due to lack of valuable customer insight/input, especially IT projects. But right now, operational delivery for many businesses is on hold, suddenly there’s breathing space to focus on all those things that before all this, there never seemed to be enough time to get accomplished.

It feels like much of our personal and professional lives have been turned upside down with very little we can currently do to control it, short of following the very well documented government guidance on social distancing. However, what we can control is how we use this time to proactively deliver continuous improvement to our personal and professional lives, for business leaders and organisations.

So, what are you doing with this time? – Stay safe everyone.

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