We Must Continue to Fuel Forward and Bring Our People Along

In April, I published an article about navigating this global crisis as a small business leader. The essence of that focused on people… protecting our own and serving our clients.

Four months later, it’s still about people. It always will be. But our focus has shifted from the “right now” to the future. Especially in time of crisis, the livelihoods of our employees and our company rely on our leadership continually analyzing and implementing strategic opportunities. Most firms know that both opportunity and growth are key to success, but pushing the accelerator at the right time is a decision that is fraught with doubt. For our team, now is the time. The pedal is down, and we’re making moves to invest in ourselves and grow in ways to propel ourselves forward. Why? To preserve our team and maintain our vision of being a trusted partner for our clients – clients whose needs have changed and who may need even more from us moving forward.

Whatever the unique window of opportunity is for your business, your success will depend on the clarity of your vision, the quality of the analysis supporting your decision-making, and your decisiveness to act.

If there was ever a time to improve how you do work, this is it. The pandemic has impacted businesses in different ways, depending on your industry, balance sheet and size. But if you’re financially in a place where you can make some of the improvements and strategic initiatives you’ve only talked about before…put those running shoes on and get to it. Prior budgets, prior strategies, those are not as relevant as they once were. You’re not being held to pre-COVID thinking. Often times when things go bad, we cut marketing and company R&D – we stop innovating and that’s not right. Opportunities must be sought out and that can’t happen without listening, understanding, and innovating.

But it shouldn’t be a “Hail Mary.” A bold move shouldn’t be impulsive or reactionary. It should be strategic and built upon an existing idea that you’re now vetting through the lens of a pandemic. It’s not about a big move for a big move’s sake. It’s about being thoughtful and evoking a once-in-a-career situation to make the leap. It’s about examining your own challenges, your clients’ challenges and how both of those things impact your business strategy. This is an important message to clarify for your stakeholders once you announce a new initiative. They should know it aligns to your company’s strategy and vision and values. If it doesn’t, it will be met with skepticism and fear.

Use this as an opportunity to rally your team. Your people have been through a lot in the last five months. They likely feel exhausted, and many are about to experience the extra anxiety brought on by the unknowns of the school year. They need an energy burst and something to get excited about. Big, strategic moves that signal growth and new opportunities can be refreshing for a team that has worked its tail off, despite the stresses of the pandemic. Reward them with good leadership and a positive vision for the future.

I said in my last post that our machine is our people. Our product is their expertise. Without them, there is no Argus. We must continue to find ways to be a trusted partner for our clients, and that means preserving our most valuable asset, our people. So, we’re not sitting still. We’re navigating with vision to keep moving and keep innovating. The Roman philosopher Seneca once said, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” With a little luck, we’ll all be accelerating out of this.

Originally published at LinkedIn