“If you are going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill
In our last post, published here in March of 2020, we encouraged driving energy into uncertainty at the start of the pandemic. We presented five steps to help encourage your organization through the coming months.
- Protect Employees – Follow your state and local officials’ guidance on what to do and how to do it.
- Set Up A Cross-Functional Response Team. Focus on Scenario and Business Continuity Planning and communication.
- Manage Cash and ensure access to liquidity
- Model your Sales Cycle, Stabilize the Supply Chain, then double down on your R&D and Innovation Efforts.
- Help the Community.
We also posed a rhetorical question. “What if, in 2020, we intentionally design a “better than before” normal?”
So, as nine months may seem a long time for a sequel to a blog post, the time was necessary. Necessary to ensure enough distance was in place. As the sciencey minded folks we can be, time is needed to ensure the benefit of both real data and observation. The nine months helps to solidify an effective 2020 rewind.
No doubt, 2020 is a year that many look forward to leaving. We know that many have suffered immeasurably, both in personal and economic loss—some on a scale that is difficult for most of us to comprehend. Still, we have observed that many chose to dig deep within and identified ways to take care of themselves and those they lead.
This post is less about the five steps’ tactical measures, but more about the outcomes we observed in application of the 5 step strategy. It’s not intended to be some humble brag. But preferably, an accounting of our observations, if you will. An accounting that shows how applying some necessary steps, and focusing on them with intent, allows people to come out stronger on the other side. As it turns out, each of us most likely applied some of the five steps, perhaps without knowing it at the time, close in, with our tribes.
Define the word tribe how you like. It could be your family, your close friends, your team, the organization where you work. Not only did many dig deep, but many of came away better for it. The amount of embraced pivots by you, your friends, your families, and your work colleagues are genuinely staggering. By its very nature, this is what Innovation and “embracing the pivot” is all about.
Life is an infinite game, with no rules, and the players keep changing. Curiosity is what keeps life interesting. If you lose your curiosity, you can lose your excitement for life. If you are like us, as you are curious, you are always looking for some fresh perspective. What does someone know that we don’t? What experiences have others had that will teach us something? How have others dealt with uncertainty?
What you attempt to do is draw from these curiosity conversations and gain some perspective. Our individual experiences influence our attitudes. If we are curious enough to listen, the stories we hear from others that have played the game of life, and played it well, can calibrate our perspective. Suppose you are blessed enough to have spoken to someone who has navigated challenging life experiences. In that case, you understand how they handled something.
Suppose you have stories from your elders or handed down from your parents, or ancestors, perhaps from the Great Depression, a family emigration story to this country, a veteran who served in a war, or someone else with some really deep life experience. That perspective can be helpful for you to look for ways to address your specific situation.
Hopefully, in 2020 you sought those folks out for perspective. If you haven’t yet. Find them. You will remember those stories, and you will draw from them when times are challenging.
So, before you leave the year, we encourage taking some time to slow down for a few minutes. Take an accounting of the year. Focus on the positive attributes. What went well? Give yourself grace for the things that didn’t go so well. You’ll have another shot to make those better next year. We share our observations both of our close-in tribe and those of our extended colleagues and our clients.
These are examples of many of those around us, and those around you. These are folks that did not waste any of the time that was in front of them. Hopefully, you will see yourself in some of these observations and take a moment to celebrate your efforts.
What if, in looking back, 2020 was the year that you:
- Started a new job or a new role. You now know you are contributing immense value to your organization.
- Decided you would finally work for yourself. Chasing your passion for delivering value to others. In the best way, you know how.
- Adapted to work at home, homeschooling, and remote learning. All to keep your kids in the game.
- Finished a degree or certification that you had not completed.
- Made time to conduct a personal self-audit. You got comfortable with the quiet time and reflection. You became truly comfortable with yourself in the quiet time. Realizing that, as it turns out, you make pretty good company to be around.
- Extended grace to someone that was not kind to you.
- Reached out to that friend or relative, to have that difficult conversation, for some unknown reason, was years in the making, and finally repaired a relationship.
- Took accountability for past decisions and their consequences. You picked yourself up and decided not to stay in that old negative mental space. You have been working daily to ensure it stays that way.
- Rediscovered your faith and you doubled down it. Knowing that the only thing you can anchor to is your faith. And that’s all you need for each day.
- Picked up that instrument you’d always wanted to play. After some effort and time, what didn’t sound so good at the start sounds pretty good now.
- Found support for someone who reached out to you for help during a dark moment—providing a connection to some professional support. They embraced the support and thanked you for it.
- Supported a family member through a long and arduous period to beat a difficult medical diagnosis via prayer, the persistence of doctors, and providing continuous encouragement.
- Decided that as a result of pandemic and quarantine, you would learn a new skill. Perhaps a skill considered dangerous by others. But once you mastered the skill, it provided you some great joy. Whatever that skill was, it gave you the freedom to see everyday things with a new perspective.
- Spent more time with your immediate family. Cooking. Sitting around. Talking. Sharing. Perhaps, you had the blessing of more family dinners than you thought possible or even practical in a year.
- Taught a skill you are passionate about to someone else. You saw the joy in someone else with the new ability to do something they didn’t think they could do.
- Found a way to visit college campuses to help your kids figure out what their next step in life might be.
- Connected someone to a coach that helped them get better at something.
- Made happen an event or activity that others told you was impossible because of the pandemic.
- Built things that were helpful at home. A new family space for gathering. You ticked off items on Project List that you always wanted to be complete.
- Got that old vehicle restored and roadworthy to drive.
- Witnessed a new leader that bravely stepped into a leadership vacuum, picked up the team, and moved the team forward.
- Ditched toxic mindsets and people that were difficult to be around.
- Saw Karma come back on difficult people from the past. You smiled for a quick moment, wished them well, and moved on.
- Took the high road and chose not to respond to that social media post as it wouldn’t help anyone.
- Worked with your team or your clients on multiple continents and pivoted to deliver value digitally or remotely.
- Simplified your life that you could understand what is genuinely most important to you.
Clients, too, were able to do this in some fantastic ways. They were diving deep on the five steps. Ensuring their processes were designed to optimize the current situation, AND make sure they could conserve Cash along the way.
- In one case, a client would redesign their supply chain and inventory processes to preserve 20% of their Cash.
- In another case story, a full enterprise client team of 50+ in 3 countries virtually celebrated their collective efforts, shared experiences, and early-stage success, of their internal growth program.
- The teams were patient with each other. They became accustomed to zoom bomb interruptions from kids at home. Yet still, the teams persevered to deliver a fantastic multimillion-dollar value pipeline in a turbulent time.
- Five of those leaders worked hard, questioned themselves, and did the deep individual work to build their unique leadership style. They looked for ways to build others up. They all now have been promoted up to do more of what they are good at doing.
So as we wrap the year, we need to start with gratitude. Gratitude to our families, friends, colleagues, and clients. Each for finding their energy in the uncertainty. We are grateful for allowing us to share some lessons and experiences. Sharing their joy, however small or big it was to them, in their successes. If we got to spend some time with you, share experiences and insights, we are grateful.
So, be mindful that in the rearview mirror, what was difficult and a trial by fire, may begin, over time, to look more like a magnificent sunset, leading to your next chapter.
If these observations haven’t shown up as yet for you, no worries. They will. Keep moving, keep looking for the bright spots, celebrate your efforts, and drive energy into your uncertainty.
In 2021, The Innovation Garage has a new events calendar. Our programming will include local live programs and digital learning. This will help you and your teams get clarity to build your organization’s capability to grow. We’ve learned a ton this year and believe there is a tremendous value in sharing that with you.
We wish you and your tribe a Happy New Year for 2021, as you continue to drive energy into uncertainty!
#mindset #grit #emotionalintelligence #strategy #leadership #innovation #growth #theinnovationgarage
We help organizations grow! We build strategy. We build ideas and coach the innovation capability of teams. We design products, services and supply chains. We guide leaders from non-profit, government, startup and the Global Fortune 500 to intentionally self-disrupt their offerings and organizations. We provide world-class education, tools, and technology on how to craft growth operating systems focused on the long- term.