How To Think Strategically Through A Crisis | The Melting Pot Newsletter | #83
HOW TO THINK STRATEGICALLY THROUGH A CRISIS
The coronavirus crisis poses many dangers. Most obvious are physical health impacts. But less apparent, and more widespread, are the long term effects on everyone’s mental health. We’re being bombarded by a deluge of information every day, most of it terrifying. This, combined with the heightened stress caused by lockdown, is playing havoc with our reasoning, decision-making and productivity. In China, week four was a particularly low point for many in Wuhan. And here we are, nearing the end of our own fourth week.
In times of crisis, it can be hard to stay calm and optimistic. However, your business is relying on you for steady leadership and a clear strategic vision of the future. It’s a big ask.
Take proactive steps now and your business will stay strong and recover faster once the crisis subsides. The fact that China is already showing signs of economic recovery means there may be light at the end of the tunnel.
Here are a few ways to think strategically through this crisis.
DEVELOPING YOUR ENTREPRENEURIAL SKILLS WITH DANIEL PRIESTLEY
Are you an entrepreneur looking to scale up your business? Or perhaps you’re still figuring out your company’s purpose. Then you need to listen to Daniel Priestley, showman, visionary, speaker, and author.
Daniel’s willed a number of multi-million-pound businesses into existence from nothing, written four best-selling business books and is the co-founder of Dent Global, an incubator for startups run by people with business experience under their belts.
“The one thing that stood out to me is that very few of them [entrepreneurs] are 22-year-olds. Most entrepreneurs have been in their industry as an employee for 15 years before they then get the confidence and the skills and the connections to start a company. Most entrepreneurs are around 40 when they start, and most people who achieve an exit are typically in their early 50s.”
So if you’re someone who has an idea, knowledge and network to create a business and want to create a better life for yourself, Daniel is the guy you want to go and see.
In this podcast, Dominic and Daniel discuss the inspiration for Dent Global, the type of people who might want to join the entrepreneur accelerator programme, what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur and an easy hack for finding a purpose for your business.
The My Business Podcast is Australia’s leading podcast for anyone who owns and operates their own business. Each week, we speak with real-life business owners about their successes and struggles, finances and fears, as well as what inspires them and how they continue to make ends meet. Raw, honest and unscripted, the My Business Podcast is the ultimate source of inspiring stories and practical advice for every business leader.
Recognised as a trusted advisor to SME owners for 24 years, My Business provides innovative business strategies, practical tips and expert advice that Australia’s two million SME owners can use in their day-to-day operations.
As if being a working parent didn’t already include enough moving pieces to manage, even toddlers are now having standing teleconferences. For the two of us, our daughters’ virtual morning preschool meeting is one more item to be juggled as we attempt to work full-time from home without childcare. Our own conference calls are scheduled for naptime and occasionally interrupted by a request for potty. We attempt to wedge the rest of the workday into the early mornings and post-bedtime.
The coronavirus lockdown is saving lives but destroying livelihoods. Is it worth it? I’ve been accused of ignoring its costs. For an economist, this is fighting talk. Love us or hate us, thinking about uncomfortable trade-offs is what we economists do.
To make it through the current crisis and return to a new normal, you and your team will need to be resilient. The good news is that leaders can help create the conditions that make this possible. We’ve done multiple studies with U.S. Navy recruits that show how this can best be done—and, recently, in studying how leaders are responding to the crisis, we’ve come across valuable stories of how they can achieve this even when team members are working remotely. The key is to focus on two things: people and perspective.
SCALING YOUR TECH BUSINESS BY DOMINIC MONKHOUSE
Calling all CEOs, Founders and Managing Partners! Learn valuable scale-up strategies in a brand new book by the UK’s top tech industry business coach, Dominic Monkhouse. Dom has a track record of scaling-up award-winning technology businesses, including two UK based companies from zero revenue to £30 million within five years. Now he is sharing the secrets behind his success in a new book, FREE to all Melting Pot subscribers. The download will be available very soon. Watch out for your copy!
A Fast Company blogger and former McKinsey consultant profiles the next generation business strategists: the “Outthinkers”. “Outthinkers” are entrepreneurs and corporate leaders with a new playbook. They see opportunities others ignore, challenge dogma others accept as truth, rally resources others cannot influence, and unleash new strategies that disrupt their markets. Outthink the Competition proves that business competition is undergoing a fundamental paradigm shift and that during such revolutions, outthinkers beat traditionalists. Outthink the Competition presents stories of breakthrough companies like Apple, Google, Vistaprint, and Rosetta Stone whose stunning performances defy traditional explanation and will inspire readers to outthink the competition.
MEANINGFUL ACTION FOR MONDAY
At this time of crisis, your staff need to understand why you’re making the decisions you’re making. So consider implementing ‘open book management’. This is what I did when I took over as MD at IT Lab in 2007. I told everyone we were losing £65K per month. No-one knew. Whilst my staff had a vague idea that things were bad, there was no sense of implication that in three months, if we didn’t break even, we were doomed. You want your staff to feel like they’re all in this together.
I recently interviewed Jack Stack for a future Melting Pot episode. He was the first to coin the phrase ‘open book management’ in his book ‘The Great Game of Business’ and told me about a janitor who started diluting floor cleaning products because he wanted to make a personal contribution to gross profit. Staff won’t behave like owners unless they have all the information. Every item on your balance sheet should have a name put next to it. Everyone needs to feel they’re making a contribution to the finances of your company. Share your business cash reality.