In March 2020, the world started falling apart for everyone. We didn’t realize it immediately, but a week of shutdown turned into a month, then into a year and more. Most of us haven’t returned to the “normal” of 2019 and probably never will.
Sometimes you plan to change, and sometimes it’s thrust upon you with no warning.
I find it remarkable how well we’ve survived so far. Sure, we had tremendous inconvenience and quite a few businesses and organizations were forced to shut down. Industries were brought to a halt.
But we’ve all grown and improved so much. We learned how to work remotely, scattering office work to peoples’ homes. We got new perspectives on what is actually essential work, including many entry-level jobs that are poorly recognized and rewarded.
So many organizations redefined who they need to be in a virtual world. If you’re going to serve people, but can’t meet together in person, then you find ways to still contribute by other methods. You can keep your organization together using new tools.
Of course, the shocks are still resonating through our society. Supply chains are unreliable, schools are trying to regroup, and it can be tough trying to find good workers.
But despite this all, we’re still living our lives, getting income, and serving those around us. Big problems are being addressed, even though the world is an unsettled place. I’m encouraged.
I don’t particularly care for the term “pivot” in business because I think it’s been over-hyped. But no matter what you call it, we’re changing our plans based on the new reality.
So what have we learned about huge, unforeseeable change?
First, it really matters how you treat people. Whether they’re customers, employees, or partners, people develop loyalty to those who treat them well. I’ve been through situations where I lost my job, but the relationships I kept with certain people are absolutely priceless.
Second, usually the Big Picture hasn’t changed much. If our group’s mission is to serve people around the world and make their lives better, we’ll want to do that despite pandemic, war, and other disasters. We may change HOW we do that, but our purpose is the same.
Third, flexibility is paramount. Within our overall mission and purpose, we’re constantly having to create new approaches. We have to apply our limited resources in creative directions, constantly learning from what other companies and industries are doing. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to find out what’s working (or not) for anybody across the globe.
I’m encouraged to see how quickly people adapt to a changing reality. Even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time, we’ve made tremendous strides as companies, industries, and countries. Who would have ever thought we could successfully develop new vaccines so quickly and deliver them worldwide?
I’m grateful to see how our governments have adapted: cities, schools, states, and the country as a whole. Despite the fact that these entities are designed to be slow and contentious, we’ve made amazing strides in the last couple of years.
I’m thankful for all who have helped behind the scenes, particularly non-profits. They’ve always worked on a shoestring, while the needs have positively exploded. It’s been a joy to work with some of them directly in my coaching services.
We’ve had some deep discussions about disinformation and bias in our news sources, so I’m grateful for those services which help us stay connected and tackle the issues this pandemic has thrown at us. It’s a lifeline of information that we seldom recognize.
As it turns out, I’m going to be refocusing my energies into some new purposes and projects. I’ve enjoyed the 12 years I’ve had doing columns for NCBR and BizWest, and I thank you for all the wonderful support and feedback you’ve given me over the years. And now it’s time for my next change. What’s yours?
Carl Dierschow is a Small Fish Business Coach based in Fort Collins, specializing in companies committed to improving society and the world. His website is www.smallfish.us.