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Survival & Thrival: A Once in a Lifetime Opportunity

April 14, 2020 by Kurt Wilkin

Are you patiently (or impatiently) waiting for things to get back to normal “post-Covid?” I’ve got news for you. We’re already “post-Covid”—and you can’t just sit on your hands until it passes, especially when no one can say for sure when that will be. Things will never go fully back to the way they were. Nor should they. The world will be a different place in the future, and in many ways, that could be a good thing.

As Craig Wiley, CEO of Transcend Executive Group, recently told me: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime platform to reexamine everything.”

This week’s Survive and Thrive CEO Forums focused on shifting gears from defense to offense. Working closely with my friend Craig, we encouraged leaders to shift to an offensive stance and identify ways to innovate and come out of this well ahead of their competitors. What investments can you make now to come out stronger in the end? I think we recognize changes are happening that will impact our lives, our economy, and our businesses. These changes present tremendous opportunities to innovate and even fix broken business models.

When the restrictions are lifted, will we want business to go back to the way it was? When employees are free to “go back to work,” will they want to commute to the office again? Working from home probably isn’t going to be the future normal for everyone, but we’re all being forced to learn some positives about the remote-work environment. These lessons can and should stick with us. What are we learning under the circumstances that informs the future of work? The future of our companies?

There are a lot of voices out there telling us to “get back to normal.” It seems like fair advice on the surface. Even the stimulus money seems packed with incentives to get you to extend your runway so you can maintain the status quo. Be careful with that line of thinking. Remember Craig’s quote above: reexamine everything! Don’t just fall back into the same routine and expect everything to be sunshine and roses. Use the stimulus money to invest in talent, technology, or to innovate your business. Change your company and the impact it has on your customers, employees, and community for the better. I challenge you to make them stronger. Make them thrive.

Let’s face it: there are a lot of broken business models out there. Even without a global pandemic, there were warning signs that there were troubles on the horizon for a number of industries. Many companies were going to go out of business – slowly and painfully – without significant changes to their business models. Covid-19 has merely accelerated those trends. For example, our economy has been overly retail-dependent for a while now, and many businesses in a variety of industries were over-leveraged. My hope is that those businesses (and many others) can pivot and innovate to make themselves stronger in the end.

Just six months ago, if you asked the CEO of a tech-based service company what they aspired to be, you’d hear something like, “we’re going to be the Uber of cleaning services!” or “the VRBO of rental cars!” Those companies had huge impacts on our lives. Post-Covid, I think we’re going to see leaders aspiring to be the “toilet paper” or the “hand sanitizer” of their respective industries.

How are you going to innovate? What will your company look like when the dust settles? Let me know what you are doing and what you’re thinking. I love hearing stories from CEOs and entrepreneurs who are playing offense. The CEO Forums, these written summaries, and my new Q&A video series are helping others by providing a platform for useful information, war stories, and just plain venting. My inbox is always open if you have any ideas for future sessions.

Our goal at HireBetter is to help you navigate the unknown and assist in any way we can, especially when it comes to questions about your team and the health of your business. We’re constantly updating our curated list of business-related Covid resources and offering free business continuity consultations. We’ll continue to host the CEO Forums and keep you updated until we get that much-anticipated “all-clear.” And don’t forget to keep an eye out for the weekly LinkedIn Live Q&A sessions I will be hosting.

Now is the time to reexamine. Let’s go!

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