June 17, 2020
Managing Change During a Pandemic—Pause, and Start from the Beginning
A Reflection Piece by Mark Wolters, Co-President & Co-Founder, SalesEvolve
Change Always Comes with Opportunity and Choice
Recently, I’ve had a lot of conversations with people, from all walks of life, who are managing change in various ways and see this current pandemic from completely different perspectives.
Many of the perspectives I have been hearing are dark, as people are really wrestling with the fact that their world has become so unstable. As a result, employees are struggling with loneliness and depression, and leaders who normally have clarity and purpose feel like they are unsure of where to go themselves—let alone lead others.
However, there are a small number of leaders and companies who are managing change well and thriving in this environment. They have crossed my path less often, however when they do, I find myself drawn to their passion and vision for a better world.
What Are the Qualities of the People and Companies I Have Gravitated Towards?
- They understand that people matter—yes, they are complicated, but they matter.
- People who work really hard to try and make the world a better place for future generations.
- People who roll up their sleeves and get to work. They understand that for us to move forward, they must be part of the solution.
- Those who are sensitive to the things that have made us who we are but are not stuck trying to replicate a past that they can’t control; instead they are focused on moving forward.
- They aren’t blind to the difficulties of today but choose to see past them to help create a chance for a better tomorrow.
What can we learn from these people and companies?
Disable Defense Mode & Press Pause
It is human nature to focus on ourselves first, to protect our sense of ‘self’ and those things that we think make us who we are. Likewise, it is also human nature to put up defenses and do everything we can to protect our ‘self’ from threats. Right now, because there are so many ‘threats’, companies and individuals are actively in defense mode. Much of their world has been thrown upside down, and in some cases, they are so disorientated that all they have left in their control is to ‘buckle in’ and to survive. As a result, they cut costs, reduce overhead, pause investments, and spend a lot of time worrying about what the future might hold.
However, I want to encourage us all to pause.
You likely started your business or joined someone else’s because it mattered to you. Likely, it matched who you are and helped people improve their lives. Similarly, it made a difference and supported your sense of identity and value.
Of course, there are elements of every job that are less then exciting, but at a high-level, most us try and choose a job where what we do makes us happy, helps people, and moves us closer to achieving our dreams.
So, have any of those stopped being true?
The Fundamental Building Blocks for Success Haven’t Changed
It is true, the world has changed, and it looks like it will stay that way for a while. However, I think if you take a careful look around you, you will find that you still have all the fundamental building blocks you need to be successful and do well, including:
- You still care about helping people. So, what do they now need?
- You still have skills and can offer them in the form of a product and/or service. How can you pivot how you or your company did that previously to better match the needs of today?
- You still have access to people who have these needs (the market). How can you let them know you have some great things to offer that match what they need?
- You still have a commitment to quality. What new things need to be adapted to support the new products and services?
- You still want to make a difference. Ask your customers how you can better support them, and as a result they will guide you on what they need.
It’s true—managers, business owners, and staff will all need to adapt, and change often makes people feel stressed out, lost and unsure of what steps to take.
However, take heart. While many things have changed, the core of who we are has not.
Fundamentally, each and every business exists to help make the world a better place. SalesEvolve has been trying to do that for the last 8 years. Likewise, our friends at SanEcoTec have been trying to do that for 10 years; Enviro-Stewards and Betach have been working on it for 20 years; Virtek Vision have been at it for 32 years; Cayuga Displays have been doing it for 40 years; and, FedEx have been working at it for 49 years. There are thousands of you working every day on your own unique version of this goal.
In short, regardless of how long it has been for you, the primary reason companies (and people in those companies) spend money on your products or services is because somehow, you make their world better.
So, take a deep breath—you’ll be alright. You have everything you need. Just start at the beginning. You’ll find the narrative of your story hasn’t changed much; you just had an unexpected chapter added in.