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Our Greatest Need is Our Lessons Learned

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Author - Terri Wilcox - Nov 2020

At one of our last Industry Association gatherings, we asked a group of small business owners we work closely with what they would say their members’ greatest need today is.  The answer was an astounding “help us to be prepared for the next crisis”.  Here are some of the comments we’ve heard:

  • “We weren’t ready for this”
  • “I don’t ever want to go through this again. Next time, I want to be prepared”
  • “We needed help to rearrange quickly and then recover”
  • “My team should have had a contingency plan but we didn’t know how”

We applaud every business that is still operating, whether it be full steam ahead or just trying to stay afloat. Is this a one-time situational lesson never to be dealt with again? Or did today’s disruption simply uncover weaknesses in the way we perform business? We’ve come to the conclusion that it’s a hybrid of these two perspectives.

A crisis forces continuous business improvement

Before the crisis hit, how strong was your belief in your operating model? Was the system built out enough to hold up when under siege? This year’s huge disruption triggered companies to test their operating systems. We strongly believe every organization must have a foundation of internal strength that every single person understands and follows. Each employee must use the same language and tools and rely on the operating model as a consistent framework.

If every department and manager is allowed to create their own operating model, not only does the company get bogged down with communication problems, it also struggles with a focused plan of attack. This approach can cause so many issues to resolve on multiple operating fronts.  These companies are working very, very hard compared to those that have adopted one operating model based on a business framework your workforce can use quickly and with reliability.  At The Resultants™, this is the first executable step we take with our clients. It has also become the platform for contingency planning during times like these.

Think like a start-up

How willing was your team to change (not just the small stuff, but that big strategic picture)? The depth of the disruption required small businesses to go back to their roots and think like a start-up company. What do we want to be when we grow up? What truly are our values? How will we fuel this enterprise? What functions do we need to keep the organization moving forward and what functions don’t we need anymore? It may be back to the drawing board for some.  It may be standing firm on an established brand for others. Either way, the start-up mentality puts a new spin on how you look at strategy by eliminating some of the old, established blinders of “this is how we’ve always conducted business”.

A crisis is the time to seize opportunities

Have you communicated to others an opportunistic outlook?  What small business has experienced lately can cripple us into thinking this is a not a good time to change, switch gears or try something new. Viewing disruption as an opportunity to how we do business is healthy.  It challenges us to take stock of what “can be”.  By being open to new opportunities, we open the door to re-engineering the organization so that it can create the strength and resiliency needed to meet future challenges.  We look at opportunity as our chance to get better prepared.

It’s a team strategy

For most owners, we’ve tried to place the entire responsibility of protecting our companies on our own backs.  Did we really think we could do this alone? There are teams of great people who can help lead companies through tough times. These teams are made up of those right people who believe in the company’s core values. They are in the right seats and understand how what they do in their job affects the success of other team members. These are the teams that collaborate and offer up suggestions without being afraid they might lose their job for speaking up. The teams are not afraid to test today’s waters with a different way of doing things, a different product or service, or to accept that risk, even though it may cause more short-term disruption. Chad Haldeman’s blog, “How Strong Teams Rise to the Occasion” reinforces this.

Being better prepared for the next crisis is on all of our minds. What will next year bring? We believe small business will forge ahead because they have the resiliency to survive. We may not have enough detailed information to feel good about making our plans final, but isn’t that part of what this crisis has taught us? Build a strong operating system, go back to the drawing board and think like a start-up. Grab those opportunities and rely on team collaboration to become better prepared!

Author, Terri Wilcox, is a co-founder and Business Advisor with The Resultants™. To learn more about Terri, visit our Team Page or connect with her on LinkedIn.


Rebuilding Your Roadmap to Success

2020 isn’t over just yet but you should be starting to think about how you can reset and rebuild in 2021. There are many factors to take into consideration when setting your long-term goal especially after a year of disruption. Enter the Value Builder System™, a methodology consisting of eight key levers of company value you can push and pull to significantly increase the value of your company.

Find out where your company sits by taking the Value Builder Questionnaire.

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