In the onslaught of news pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have read of others that have occurred in the 1900s that have had devastating impact on the world. And yet as I see it, we as a world and certainly in the U.S., have had to weather occurrences that have clearly turned our world upside down.
Think ravaging fires that have wiped out cities and towns, tornados and hurricanes that have eliminated entire communities, declining industries that have closed retail and manufacturing businesses alike. And then of course, September 11. Regardless of which of these we each experienced, we were required to make adjustments in our thinking, our preparedness and how we determined we wanted to move forward.
Today, we are all in the midst of something that has an ill-defined end. It has brought with it uncertainty as related to our work, our ability to earn, our health and in the overall, our future. As such we all have a choice as to how we react and respond. Many of the clients with whom I coach have been sent home to work away from others as a means of curtailing the spread of this monster ailment. Others who depend on buying customers are fearful that these same people on whom they depend for their livelihood will not spend money at this time to the extent they were going to … again because of the uncertainty of when ‘normal’ shall return. Clearly, it is both unsettling and frightening to so many of us.
Learning to Adapt to Change
How we individually respond has options. What comes to mind is the book entitled Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson. When the mice of the story found that their food (cheese) was not in its’ usual room they had a choice. They were either paralyzed by fear and wonderment as to why it wasn’t there and how ‘they’ could have done this or … they went in search of other rooms in the maze until they found it and were able to remain healthy and move forward. The first group ended up not surviving. The latter group went on to thrive in their new ‘world’. I have no doubt that all of us want to be part of that second group and the biggest requirement in order to do so is that we become creative to the extent possible in terms of how we approach the world upon which we depend to provide the work and income we require.
We can already see this taking place around us. Restaurants, for example, are generally closed to dine-in customers. The creative approach of restauranteurs has turned some restaurants into take-out establishments … including the likes of wine and beer. They use some servers in the kitchen or as delivery people in order to avoid the need to layoff all members of their teams. Is this perfect? By no means, however this creative approach will serve their customers in ways that are meaningful, help them preserve jobs for members of their teams and help them keep their businesses alive while riding out this tremendous storm.
How to Find and Implement Personalized Adjustments
Here are some suggestions as to how you might look at whatever work you do as a way to reinvent how you approach your prospects and customers in what you offer to them and how you successfully operate working in a different environment than you are used to.
- What are the things that prospects or customers may want or need today that they weren’t inclined to consider just a month ago that your knowledge can help to provide?
- Rather than approaching your identified prospects in your ‘normal’ manner as in ‘I want your business’, what expertise to you have based on your experience in riding out other past challenging time that allow you to bring/offer solutions that will be particularly meaningful today?
- Working at home brings with it a need for a different kind of discipline than going to the office doesn’t carry. How do you need to organize a work area and your personal approach to ‘going into the office’ that will provide the structure and atmosphere that will enable you to make this successful transition?
- Just because a client/prospect is hesitant to spend what they had intended to spend with you just a while ago doesn’t mean they won’t spend. It just means that they may want to cut back a bit. What can you offer them along these lines that will allow all of you to move forward successfully in this time?
- What product or service might you be able to offer to prospects or clients that you know they need or at least, are thinking about? The business owner who leases office space might today be willing to consider reducing costs by relocating even at the cost of paying some rent to get out of their current lease. Someone who owns a building and was not thinking of selling just a month ago, might have a different perspective and wouldn’t that be ideal in this time of limited available real estate on the market?
- What creative approach might you be able and willing to offer to your product or service that would provide users with what they need today and that would allow them to pay on terms that are realistic from your standpoint and theirs?
If necessity is truly the mother of invention, then certainly navigating this current reality qualifies for all of us to step into the arena of finding ways that keep what we do relevant to those we serve. To be stuck in any other mindset is fruitless and frightening and I believe that are all capable of devising some ways that will help us weather this storm. There is cheese somewhere in the vicinity. We just need to go in search of it for in some form and proportion, I must believe it is there to be found.