It’s hard to tell whether things are getting better or worse. Whilst the virus is doing what the virus is doing we are all waiting to hear what the next step will be as far as society returning to some level of normality. I’m sure we all have our own views on this and it’s important that they remain our views. It’s all too easy to get sucked into media reports that have formed an opinion of something at a time when it is clear that no one knows precisely what will happen. And that creates uncertainty. And high levels of uncertainty are the start of fear, and being in a state of fear is no place for anyone to be.
For those that know me, you knew it wouldn’t be long before before I brought a sailing metaphor into the mix. The point is, we are all on a journey, hopefully a long one, and the danger is we focus on the next few weeks and forget completely about the destination. Of course, it’s easy to panic and get anxious when we are in the place we are all in right now, but the fact of the matter is we must not loose sight of where we are going.
If we were planning a long voyage, say across the Atlantic, we can then choose a destination and plot that on a chart. It would then give us a bearing of the direction of travel and we would set that as our course in that direction. Then something happens, and instead of travelling along the bearing we sail at 90 degrees to our intended course, maybe for several days. When conditions return to ’normal’ you’ll probably find that the bearing (the direction of travel) is not significantly different from your original bearing. And the point is, the destination remains the same. Admittedly you have to recalibrate lots of things but in the grand scheme of things it is possible that everything remains achievable. Sailors often experience this situation in storms when the boat can be driven ‘off course’ and the sailor has no choice than to ‘batten down the hatches’ and hunker down (sound familiar?). But eventually the storm passes, a new version of normality emerges. The passage plan is re-drawn, and the sails reset towards the intended destination. It’s not unusual for sailors setting off across the Atlantic to the Caribbean to encounter storms, often severe ones. What is exceptional is that they end up in Australia instead.
So whilst I have suggested that you focus on the next 90 days, that advice remains unchanged. That is about managing, with extreme vigilance the resources that you have to see you through that period, almost micro-managing the situation. However, and this is not contradictory advice, but you must raise your head a look well beyond the horizon. The destination is still there, and with that in mind you can plan backwards to your current position and begin to work out the steps you will need to take in order to get there. The old model you had (if you had one….) is now redundant. It’s now time to be incredibly focused on the outcome you are looking for and frankly, for most businesses, the journey is often a long one and whilst we will all suffer during this hideous time, in reality another week or so of lockdown will not make an irreversible difference.
I talk to different businesses all day every day. I find it helps to gain insights into the way they think. The way they interpret the situation. The way they are reacting and the plans they are putting in place. And yes, everyone is different, but some are more different than others. There are a breed of positively minded, focused individuals who are….on it. Really on it. This is a challenge, a major challenge, and yet all they can see is opportunity. The are working their way through the jungle never once losing sight of the outcome they are after. They are not blaming their circumstances on anyone else, they have picked up the hand mirror and looking deep into it asking what do I need to do? They are not looking for lifelines, they know that if they come they are a bonus, but what they are doing is taking action.
Proverb – Man with mouth wide open wait all day for duck to fly in.
If you sit around and wait to get fed, you may be waiting an awfully long time. This breed of positively minded, focused individuals are starting to get fired up. They are aware that some business owners are being sucked down a drain of gloom and despair, but that just fires them up more, it makes their opportunity bigger, they are primed to accelerate out of the traps and seize the opportunities as the arise. They are flexible, agile, innovative, adaptive.
And all of this makes me wonder if COVID-19 is the ultimate entrepreneurial filter?
If, as always, you have any queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch
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