PIVOT: 5 Keys to Thriving in Tough Times

One common reason to pivot a business is difficulty generating sustainable revenue.”  Little did Chuck Cohn realize when he wrote these words in a 2015 Forbes article how meaningful they would be five years later.  2020 has become an extremely difficult year for many businesses to generate let alone sustain revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its residual fallout.

Cohn’s piece for Forbes also highlighted an underlying truth for all businesses:  “Change can be a daunting prospect, and the best companies thrive because they can navigate these changes successfully”  (read more of Cohn’s article, “How to Pivot Your Business,” at www.forbes.com). While many of us may not like change, it is part of life.  Sometimes changes are minor, like new regulations or retail trends, but other changes are immense, like a worldwide pandemic. Yet small or large, when something impacts the day-to-day operations of a business, adjustments must be made in order for any Corporate Family® to survive.

At LEADon®, we recommend you consider five steps that can help you and your team through the tough times in which we all find ourselves.  These steps can be summarized by the acronym PIVOT:

1. Get Perspective:  When people are in the midst of challenging circumstances, perspective is often elusive.  Current difficulties and worries about the future can impact decision-making, obscuring the correct pathway to alleviate the problems.  Yet a simple strategy from the art world can help remedy this dilemma:  get perspective.  Perspective involves stepping back from the focus of your attention and analyzing the situation from a different angle.  The Florentine architect Fillipo Brunelleshi did just that in 1415, and at that moment, millennia of two-dimensional thinking would be forever changed (for an illuminating article on this aspect of art history, see http://www.op-art.co.uk/history/perspective/ ). This process in leadership means stepping away from your circumstances, taking a diverse look at current difficulties, and gazing at yourself, your team, and your organization through different lenses.

2. Gather Information: At LEADon®, we like this ancient proverb: “Plans succeed through good counsel.”  As you and your team look for new ways of doing business in a climate impacted by COVID-19, search for solutions outside your normal set of resources.  How are others in your field making adjustments to daily operations?  What are leaders in other fields doing?  Contact your mentor or a trusted colleague to ask advice on concerns you’re dealing with and discuss ideas that will improve the overall experience for your Corporate Family® and clientele.

3. Cast a New Vision:  In a May 2020 Forbes article entitled “The Wine Industry’s Vision for a Post COVID-19 World,” author Cathrine Todd examined the way leaders looked at past problems in their industry (Perspective) and investigated diverse options (Information) in order to cast a new Vision for success.  Many of these businesses, from wineries to restaurants, have reimagined typical practices while continuing to search for innovative ways to provide their product to customers.  At LEADon®, we believe that casting Vision and creating buy-in are vital for productivity and profitability, that’s why we created our online course LEADing with Vision, Mission, and Values® (you can find this and over thirty other LEADon® courses at www.LEADonUniversity.com).

4. Promote Optimism: As one of the twenty-five essential EQ (Emotional Quotient) characteristics, Optimism not only impacts your level of personal and professional satisfaction, but also that of your team.  The great news is that all EQ characteristics are malleable—in other words, they can be developed over time with intentional effort.  In fact, sometimes the most incredible growth takes place because of challenging circumstances.  We like Cathrine Todd’s perspective on this:  Sometimes the world needs to fall apart to truly appreciate those things in one’s life that bring joy and a sense of grounding, those things that are often overlooked and that were no longer seen as being shiny and new yet they are the things that keep the fabric of connection and community alive…” (see www.forbes.com for more of this insightful article).

 5. Foster Tenacity:  The topics of grit and Tenacity were on the forefront of leaders’ minds long before the coronavirus pandemic.  Indeed, numerous TED Talks, books, and blogs have detailed the importance of this crucial characteristic for long-term success (for instance, see LEADon’s® The LEADing Blog posts on Endurance and Perseverance). The word Tenacity is derived from the Latin tenācitās which means “to hold fast.” Tenacious leaders don’t give up, they never surrender—and they strive to inspire those in their various spheres of influence with this “true grit” mindset.

No matter what your current circumstances or concerns, the PIVOT process is a straightforward way to evaluate where you are and envision how you can pivot and proceed through tough times. Begin by taking time to gain some Perspective.  Gather and glean relevant Information before moving forward with any new plans.  Re-imagine your business model and cast a new Vision for success. Encourage Optimism whenever and wherever you can.  Hold fast to the hope of a better tomorrow with all the Tenacity you can muster.  As you begin implementing these five pivotal steps, feel free to connect with the LEADon® team if we can be of assistance.  You can reach us at 858.592.0700 or www.LEADonUniversity.com.  Also, be sure to utilize our free resources, including The LEADing Blog.  They can encourage you and your team members in your leadership journey—both now and in the future.