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Lisa Copland SVP of Engagement

Our Thinking Tue 26th May, 2020

Pivot with purpose: Business continuity in a sea of change

The world shut down and the pace with which open societies closed for business was so fast and at such scale no strategy plan or model could handle it. 

And as entire societies quarantined, billions of people realized they had crossed a dividing line – the transition from their life Pre COVID to Post COVID. 

In the many areas where #flattenthecurve and #stayhome are working, a new reality is settling in.  Now that business has shut down, how do we start it back up? 

Our world view has shifted

The problem space: The shift is subtle and profound

Pre COVID most businesses were on a path to create engaging in store and digital experiences that extended beyond the product to lifestyle.   Retailers were entering healthcare, Amazon acquired Whole Foods and even banking opened cafes.  All with the goal of providing a space to connect people in a community in the multiple dimensions of their lives. Basically, the trend was reimagining physical spaces so people could connect together en masse.   Pre COVID, business roadmaps and product development plans sought to connect seamlessly the physical and digital experiences driving loyalty and brand affinity. Now 10 weeks into the Quarantine,  businesses are grappling with the shifting behaviors and patterns that are happening around them. Many are asking themselves the most basic of questions such as:

  • Will our customers come back?
  • What about our employees? 
  • Is our business still a business? 

The time is NOW to know your purpose

Leading with purpose anchors organizations and their customers in clearly defined ‘reasons to believe’. In 2019 we covered the intrinsic value of this approach in Changing Headwinds, an-in-depth look at the halo associated with companies who place purpose over transactional values. Today, those values are now more important than ever. Businesses that align to a meaningful message that is understood at every level not only reduces uncertainty but they also help stabilize revenue and customer attrition. This generally results in (1) an engaged customer base, (2) a highly motivated and productive employee base and (3) revenue and market share growth (even in uncertain times).

Enter Post COVID where world patterns have shifted. Many growth plans, financial models and Pre COVID product delivery roadmaps aren’t working because of the massive shift the global pandemic is causing. They just weren’t built to handle this ‘once every 100-year event at a global level’. Now is the time to put Purpose back on the frontlines as the starting point Post COVID to successfully steer your organization through the uncertainty and change. Companies that take the time to consciously articulate ‘why they exist’ and show transparency in how they navigate forward exponentially increases their chances of success. Not only do they strengthen their ability for future success but they also improve their ability to evolve into new business models.

The plan: Evolve out of change and Pivot with Purpose.

Companies should use this opportunity to dig deep and hit the reset button. This means starting with purpose. Our proven re-framing techniques help businesses envision deeper possibilities, unlock new business model opportunities, and reprioritize their strategic priorities.

Reorient to your North Star. The North Star is exceptional. The North Star appears as a fixed point in the sky as other stars encircle and it. It’s almost exactly aligned with the earth’s axis which means as you venture further north, it appears to ascend higher in the sky. These qualities have made the North Star a well-known beacon and navigation tool. 

With Purpose as your north star, your company consciously and collaboratively can articulate your businesses plan to evolve and change as the changing world demands.  You begin to break down boundaries and barriers to unlock creativity. Now is the time to reorient where you are and where you ought to go. 

Replace urgency with calm and confidence Impatience doesn’t get the job done. It inspires more fear than high performance, overrides the creative flow of ideas and increases the risk of losing your way, both with your customers and employees.  The fact is people don’t change unless there’s a reason—and, this is a once-in-a-hundred-year opportunity to not only believe in change, but to drive change. Resist the urge to hunker down inside a cost optimization bubble. Trust your ability to transform. Now is the time to double-down on your future.

Resist the urge to move back to business as usual. The whiteboard has been wiped clean. There’s no looking back. Forget about talking about the future—the future is now.  Post COVID created a global shift requiring new skills, behaviors and patterns of communication. Companies must fight the urge to go back to old ways of working.  Anyone who has gone into a skid on black ice understands the instinct to slam on the brakes and turn the wheel in the opposite direction. It takes confidence and a clear head to resist moving in a counterintuitive manner – to steer into the skid to regain control and continue on your journey. This is the time to break free of the anchors of the past.   Marshall your best and brightest and array all of your capabilities to create a stronger business. One that thrives in the face of adversity versus just surviving and getting by.

Starting with Us

The stakes are high and we felt the need to quickly pivot with purpose.  We did this early on in multiple townhall forums to yield purpose driven, decisive and company-wide alignment.  As we are all working from home amidst much uncertainty the EE leadership team reoriented our purpose with the following: 

Equal Experts Purpose

We are a purpose driven company on a mission: We bring experts and clients into a haven; a space of freedom that fosters mutually beneficial and genuine relationships. So that we can make things better while learning from each other. And the executives’ rapid articulation to all to lead with Show Remote Empathy illustrates the heart and soul of purpose;  to meet people where they  are and understand as a whole we will get to where we need to go.

What will your new purpose be? Will you just survive or will you use this moment to re-anchor the roadmap for your future success? The way that you reopen will set the tone for your employees and your customers. Pivot with purpose.  As we all adjust to a new normal it’s the one thing that will give us a ‘reason to believe’.

Want to learn more?

Contact us for a one hour complimentary “Pivot with Purpose” workshop which will give you the insight into potential changes, and the tools and techniques to rapidly reorient your activities and resources to the new strategic direction.