PREDICTIONS AND RESPONSES
Do you remember what was being predicted about 2020? Some said we were due for a recession. Others forecasted big leaps in technology. One thing nobody had on their radar was a global pandemic. If you made plans based on the predictions for 2020, those plans are likely scrapped. But what if there was a plan that could hold up given the current state of the world? This plan would be based on responsiveness.
If a business had to stick to a precise plan to be profitable in 2020, then there was probably some downsizing that happened. Maybe even a business closure. On the other hand, if a business built in the ability to respond to changing circumstances, then they were well prepared for this year. Many restaurants switched their operating model from dine-in to take-out and had success. Other restaurants closed because it wouldn’t have been profitable to open on a limited basis. None of these businesses could have predicted this issue we are all dealing with today, but some were better prepared to make rapid changes. What was the difference?
Responsiveness, Built In
Built in responsiveness was the difference, but how does a business build that in? Responsive businesses have a culture of change and in order to develop that culture, leaders must make that decision. Leaders of change know their culture must be brave enough to look at its own problems, not assign blame and work as a team for improvement. When a solution is found, this team works to implement the improvement. The results of the improvement are compared to what was expected and further changes are made if necessary. In these cultures unexpected circumstances are not an obstacle, because they are constantly unveiling unknown problems and developing solutions.
This kind of business has responsiveness in its DNA. So when the pandemic started turning the economy on its head, responsive businesses got to work and developed new processes, new revenue streams and new ways of serving customers. After the pandemic, these businesses will be set up for huge success because they are already successful during challenging times. When the challenge is removed, it will be that much easier to grow.
How to Become Responsive
Your business can be responsive and thrive in chaotic situations too. The first thing to do is not build your business based on predictions. Predictions have their value and a certain type of planning can only be done with them, but don’t tie yourself to them. Instead, your business should be about solving customer problems. There is no greater way to grow than by giving customers what they need to solve a problem. Next, institute a culture of change by removing any fear of repercussions from trying something new. Employees will move to the safety of inactivity if a fear of failure is present. Remove any such fear. Lastly, build a team that focuses on change. Even if you don’t have the resources to dedicate employees to implementing change full-time, a committee or group who meets regularly to discuss needed change is a must.
If you follow these recommendations, then you will be well on your way to being responsive. When external circumstances require that you make drastic changes, it will be easier to do so because it’s a part of your culture. It won’t all be on your shoulders to save the business. Do yourself, your employees and your customers a favor by becoming responsive.