A pivot is only as good as the forward movement afterwards.
I was in a business meeting the other day when we started joking how "pivoting" too many times eventually leads to running around in circles... my company had to make some pretty hard "Pivots," and I think these pivots are working...but it took a lot of work and a lot of belief in myself and my team.
Here's how the past few months unfolded:
March 12 - VISIONALITY decided to stop ALL in-person meetings.
March 13 - We decided to run our business for the foreseeable future on a "worst case scenario" model. What if we don’t get any new business? Lose a few clients? Our staff gets sick? I re-did our budget and projections.
We initiated our pivot, got a Zoom account, and started helping organizations move their operations online. This wasn't at all what we had planned to do - in fact, our recent leadership retreat had us focusing on getting more complex contracts...but that wasn't going to happen in this climate, so we pivoted. And we literally ran with it like the company depended on it. Because it did.
I discussed possible layoffs with my staff and made sure they understood the federal and state resources available to them and my commitment to the wellbeing of their families...it was heartbreaking work, but it was what we needed to do in that moment.
April 29 - We have successfully helped each of our clients adjust their work to continue operations. We signed four new COVID-related contracts and have lost ZERO existing clients -- including moving a 600 person, 4 day conference virtual!
Even at the best of times, we can get stuck in analysis paralysis – trying to make the ‘perfect’ decision is often impossible in any given moment especially now with so much uncertainty ahead. However, my approach has always been “do something and adjust along the way.”
VISIONALITY has a "No Blame, No Shame" policy.
I KNOW that we will make mistakes, and I want us to, because it means we're pushing the envelope, trying new tactics, and being fearless in our commitment to solving the nonprofit sector's most pressing problems. We aren’t caught up in the pressure of needing to be perfect. We have latitude to explore things. We know that we are better together.
I made our pivots based on the most conservative data. I trusted myself, and - more importantly - I trusted my team. As entrepreneurs, we are ‘figure-outers.’ I don’t know what the right decisions are. Or even the right data to inform those decisions. But I DO know that I am good at figuring it out. And I know that my team will push back when I'm going down the wrong (or, "not entirely correct" as we jokingly say) path.
So we’ve done the thing. The elusive “PIVOT” in terms of revenue, business development, marketing strategy, everything. And now we need to focus on the wellbeing of our team.
I noticed that each member of our team needs to take an unexpected day off about once every two weeks. They get hit by a migraine, couldn’t sleep, or realize that they are just simply too distracted to justify billing time to a client.
And we make space for that. If someone needs the day off, we identify what can be postponed on our own to-do list and then divvy up their urgent tasks and meetings. No blame, No shame.
And that’s how I know we’re going to make it through this. We acted quickly based on the data we had available. But we also acted with kindness and empathy to ourselves and our clients. At the end of the day, we’re all just flawed people trying to do our best in the world. No blame, No shame.
So I’m encouraging you to take your next step. It may not be flawless, but it will be faultless. You’ve got this. I know it.