Making the most of the moment

Three lessons and takeaways from COVID-19

There’s already been a lot written about ‘COVID-19’ and it’s not all helpful and because things are changing quickly it’s not relevant for long.

I’d like to share just three things that we can learn and do now, that will position us as business starts to improve.

#1 Invest for the future and create ‘your capital’

As I walk around my neighbourhood, I see bars and restaurants doing major renovations. Lots of activity in the middle of a pandemic. Rather than stopping or shrinking, they are investing. They are sowing seeds.

This is fairly easy to understand, making use of downtime to improve business ‘beyond COVID’, but the harder question is, what is ‘capital’ in your role. What can you do now that will improve performance and results in the future? This will vary depending on your role but could be things like developing new marketing content, deploying a new technology platform, creating or refining processes or training and development. Unfortunately, daily priorities usually get in the way of these important activities but now is a good time to improve your capability for the future. Using your time wisely now will help you get ahead later.

#2 Do things because they create value, not because they generate profit

Right now, because business activity has slowed, unfortunately, there’s less profit generating activity to do. I’m seeing smart organisations doing work for free or if they are incumbent, going beyond their brief and delivering extra value and services. Not only is this a ‘nice thing to do’ during a difficult time, it sows seeds for the future. It keeps them top of mind, demonstrates their capability and referencing Robert Caldini’s principle of reciprocity (Influence: the Psychology of Persuasion), it is likely to lead to business in the future.

#3 “It’s all about people, stupid”

A lesson that has been driven home over the past few months has been understanding the value of people and connection. Even though technology is bringing us together to perform work efficiently, the personal and impromptu moments have been missing.

Organisations are simply a collection of people and trusted relationships are a precursor to getting anything done, so relationships need to be valued and nurtured. Chances are that your work happens through a broad network of people – work colleagues, suppliers, partners, agencies, consultants, etc. Nurturing these relationships now is getting easier, but still a bit tricky because of social restrictions.

I recommend creating a list of key people who help you achieve your business goals and create a regular contact plan to keep in touch, share ideas and identify opportunities. It may be a coffee catch up down the track, but now, a phone call is still effective. The trick is to keep it regular so you don’t lose momentum and the relationship becomes awkward.