Start the Conversation: Adapt and Innovate Your Business

crisis drives innovation

While dealing with the current economic challenges can be overwhelming and difficult, it also presents an opportunity to break through the uncertainty and drive innovation.

Focusing on the "next normal?"

The concerns we have today are genuine, and as we give them due attention, we should also view this time as a point of reflection, an opportunity to embrace change, be resilient and consider adapting and innovating.

Take This Opportunity — Have You Been Here Before?

For most of us, the current environment isn't our first crisis, and it isn't likely to be our last. If you haven't experienced this before, reach out to those who have, because what is apparent is that, historically, when businesses and employees are faced with difficult situations, it prompts new and creative solutions.

During this time, small-, medium- and large-size businesses have found new ways to create revenue streams when their usual methods were not effective. A simple example: Many traditional brick-and-mortar companies introduced or accelerated curbside pickup, allowing customers to get goods and services more quickly than if they had waited for "normal" delivery through online shopping.

These businesses realized their previous work models no longer applied. Instead of trying to fit old solutions into a new environment, they needed to think out of the box and innovate.

Don't let the overwhelming circumstances of today get in the way of your resilience and innovation.

Turn Adversity Into Innovation

The businesses that survive — and sometimes even thrive — during adversity have a different perspective than those that don't. The organizations that increase their chances for success are the ones that can envision themselves as different organizations from what they were in the past. They have the foresight and flexibility to adapt.

For example, employers from all industries and sizes quickly needed to make decisions on how to keep their business afloat and employees safe. How do you do that? Various ideas emerged, but one in particular stands out. Employees were now being asked to work from home; however, their organization may not have had the infrastructure or technology in place to support the need. So how did businesses solve the request, many employees currently were asked to use their personal devices to connect remotely.

Ingenuity and creative thinking allowed organizations to overcome the initial obstacle with resiliency by asking questions and rethinking how to get business done.

Ask the Next Question

Instead of stopping with the questions of when and how to open, successful businesses ask the next question: Once we're open, how do we stay open? How, for example, can businesses prepare for the ever-changing regulations and evolving employee concerns? Asking the next question may seem like a simple step, but it can be the most daring to do.

Keep it all in perspective. Worrying about paying rent, managing supply chains or facing a total shut down is a priority. However, allow yourself to think beyond today and reframe your thought process. As the events of today ease, businesses tend to immediately focus on recovery but spend little time preparing for the next predicament.

To survive and evolve, all organizations should take a step back and take time to pause and reflect on the situation. Ask yourself: What worked well? What didn't? What should be done next time? Do we have the right technology to help the business sustain and meet employee needs? Is our business model adaptable? The answers to these questions can help identify what needs attention, so now is the time for business leaders to reflect while it is fresh in their minds and put an action plan of best practices in place.

Look at Best Practices

Where do you find best practices? Look beyond your own personal experiences, check in with outside sources and industry experts, do research and talk to those within your own organization to see what you can learn from others. Some of the best ideas can be recognized from within. It is never too late to get started finding those trusted advisors. Establish a team of individuals with different perspectives and ideas to gather insights.

Use Data to Guide Your Decisions

In addition to reflecting and learning from the experiences of others, it's important to use insights and data to guide your decisions. Understand the value and impact that data can have on your business. Analyze the data and let it validate your next move. Allow the data to help track and measure your accomplishments.

The way you see your business success is bound to change over time. Don't let the overwhelming circumstances of today get in the way of your resilience and innovation. Take the time; right now you have the opportunity to rethink your approach and dream of innovations that may spark greater prosperity in the days to come.

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