Everyone everywhere is talking about how the global COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented challenges to the business landscape. For the sake of sharing a take you haven’t read before, we acknowledge that disruption can take many forms, including war, natural disaster, acts of terror, economic/market collapse. The most recent disruption? A health pandemic.
We talked with business leaders about disruption to see how companies reassess the market and occasionally revise their business plans in the face of unforeseen challenges.
History is a great teacher.
With that in mind, let’s gain some perspective from a CEO and Founder of a leading outdoor furniture designer and manufacturer who learned from past business disruptions to look for opportunity in market shifts and buying trends.
“The recession in 2008 hit us right away but we recovered from that quickly. In this disruption, it looked bad and we know a lot of families were impacted, but people canceled vacations and were staying home more. That’s where the term, ‘staycation’ came from. And so, they were spending money on their outdoor space, on their own home. Right away, we saw a positive impact on sales.”
New perceptions arise from friction.
As a result of a business disruption this CEO reassessed ways in which the business could benefit and found a silver lining in a down economy. On another end of the spectrum the leader of a bank was forced to revise their thinking by the disruption which caused new perceptions to be discovered.
“The one thing that has allowed us to push through [disruption] is historically some of the previous management was very, very opposed to flexible scheduling, whether it’s more flexible hours, or working from home for certain positions, allowing some of those things, and seeing that there hasn’t been a meaningful or substantial decrease in those productivities. That is opening minds, ‘Hey, maybe this is possible.’ Maybe for these sorts of positions, we’re no longer limited to just trying to hire somebody from the city where we are headquartered. . I think it just opens up the capabilities and opens up a couple opportunities that way.”
Stronger links make a stronger chain of command.
Disruption isn’t only a time to reassess operations for front-line employees but it’s also time for management to work on refining their process to adapt for the better as well.
“I think the biggest thing is we just have to refine the process; how do we maintain proper supervision? How do we ensure the productivity and the efficiency level? How do we measure, how do we quantify it?”
Stay lean without getting mean.
In Minnesota, the President of financial advising and accounting firm prepared for the worst while optimizing for the best. Along the way learning to stay strong in business planning while also going lean with resources.
“We’re learning how to do more with less right now. And we’re learning a lot of valuable lessons about staffing branches and how many people we need on site. I see some of that changing permanently. I see how we interact with each other, handshakes and less face to face, more video, more data online or through mobile channels. I mean that trend was already spiking, it’s going to go through the roof now.”
Every great story ends on a high note, but in business you never want there to be an end. The point is to keep moving forward, for the characters in your story or business in this case to continue redefining themselves. It takes great vision and great people to see where they are in a conflicted time and yet still see a way out with sometimes not much more than a fighting chance at survival. Here’s to taking a step back to reassess and position your business for success to no end.
Here’s to rising in the face of disruption.
Are you a business leader seeking to adapt, change and grow following a business environment disruption? Let’s talk about how PRIME46 research and strategic advice can help.