How to make your business Pandemic Tolerant (1)
What’s the difference you want to make,
and what makes you different.
I have some friends who live in Oklahoma, a place that’s known for the notion that “the wind comes sweeping down the plains” (a line taken from the musical “Oklahoma” by Rodgers and Hammerstein), and located in “Tornado Alley”. That’s because every spring they have a series of Tornadoes coming through the state.
The people who live there have become “Tornado Tolerant”. They’ll say “Oh look, there’s a Tornado coming through, let’s sit out on the porch and watch… and oh my this is a big one! Let’s get closer to have a good look” whereas anyone not living in the state and just visiting would simply say “I’m out of here!”. People in Oklahoma are Tornado Tolerant.
They have their Tornado shelters to go to, complete with toilet rolls, tinned goods and toiletries, and when a tornado comes their way they simply get into their shelter, batten down the hatches, and ride it out. That’s just how life is.
A story from one of my friends was of a family living in Moore, just south of Oklahoma City, who got into their underground tornado shelter in 2013 when a large tornado was coming their way, and when it had passed they emerged to find that their house had gone. Of course, the state, many charities and all of their friends rallied around to provide support and they were soon on their way to getting things back in order.
Since this pandemic came our way shopping has gone online, with some reports saying that over 75% of shoppers are choosing to do some of their grocery shopping online. In a recent BBC article by By Emma Simpson, Aldi’s UK chief executive Giles Hurley said: “It’s been an extraordinary six months, like nothing I’ve ever known in grocery … we recognise customer habits are changing and that we need to evolve our business to meet the new demands and we’re actively doing that.”
We recognise customer habits are changing and that we need to evolve our business to meet the new demands and we’re actively doing that.”~ Giles Hurley
For most of the 21st century, the discount stores have been the groundbreakers in the grocery business, however, this COVID Crisis has disrupted the industry in a few short months, and they have been forced to become pandemic tolerant. Aldi has now joined the ranks of the online grocery retailers.
“If you were designing a company from scratch that could capitalise on a global crisis, it would probably look a lot like Amazon.“ So says Brian Dumaine in a recent article for Fortune Magazine taken from his book Bezonomics that was released earlier this year.
Other businesses just happened to be in the right place at the right time, both in the leisure industry with Netflix streaming movies for us to watch during the lockdown, and in business with companies like Slack who provide workplace collaboration. Zoom quickly became the videoconference product of choice for many, and Microsoft Teams became the go-to place for a more secure and trusted corporate workplace communication environment.
It seems to me that we need to become “Pandemic Tolerant”, and we need to make our businesses Pandemic Tolerant too. The world we live in has changed, and when this pandemic is over, I suspect that there’ll be another one coming along before too long, and we’re going to need to be able to batten down the hatches whenever a pandemic comes our way, both in our personal lives and in our business lives.
We need to become “Pandemic Tolerant”, and we need to make our businesses Pandemic Tolerant too.~ Roger Fairhead
The education sector is facing a massive upheaval trying to balance the needs to educate our young people and young adults while remaining healthy and virus-free, and new models will inevitably have to emerge to accommodate these restrictions. In the meantime, it will leave a scar across the face of the Education sector the world over.
Not many years ago the country had to adjust to becoming Smoking Intolerant. Before the change people could smoke anywhere, and when I was growing up that included offices, restaurants and planes too. Nowadays it seems crazy that we could have accommodated smoking in such places. I can remember many a business meeting where the meeting room became totally smoke-filled, and that all changed over a few short years until smoking was finally prohibited in all enclosed public places and workplaces in 2007.
Making your business Pandemic Tolerant
What do you need to do to make your business Pandemic Tolerant and fit for the 21st Century? I’ll talk about this some more in my blog in the coming weeks, and in the meantime here’s a summary.
The first thing you need to do is to make sure that you understand the underlying purpose of your business: the Why, as Simon Sinek calls it. Clients, Colleagues and Customers alike are becoming increasingly intolerant of companies without a cause. They want to know what difference you want to make, and what makes you different from other organisations.
So, you need to start by understanding and articulating the difference you want to make, and what makes you different, in terms that make a difference to your Clients, Colleagues and Customers. This involves knowing your Vision, Mission and Values in such a way that all stakeholders in your organisation are able to understand them.
Once these are clear then you need to identify the outcomes that will make the difference you want to make, and work through a process to get back to what activities you need to do to make the outputs, that make the outcomes, that make the difference you want to make.
Finally, you need to build these activities into your business processes to make sure that you don’t end up with a business plan that gathers dust on the directors’ shelves.
PRIZE Winning Leadership
“Helping difference makers make a difference“
This is where the PRIZE Winning Leadership model can help, and this is what PRIZE Winning Leadership was made to do: Help Difference Makers Make a Difference.
About Roger Fairhead
Roger is a Leadership specialist and uses the PRIZE Winning Leadership model to help leaders improve their effectiveness and that of their teams, through remote and on-site delivery of keynotes, group training events and individual coaching sessions.
He is the author of several books including "PRIZE Winning Leadership" and “Personal Productivity Planner”, a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management and a Director of the Global Leadership Network UK with extensive experience in Project Management and Sales.
“He is articulate, tracks complex issues with ease and has an incredible gift for raising pearls of wisdom out of the murky depths of people and process.” His passion is to help people to learn effective leadership skills to lead their teams to capitalize on their strengths and passions to realize their dreams.
Roger also invests into the dreams of families in the world’s underserved communities to offer them small loans that empower them to invest in their future, to provide for their families and give back to their communities.