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Strategy in the absence of certainty. Planning for the unpredictable.

Monday Madness:

No one was prepared for the sudden onset and global blanketing of the pandemic.

No one. Yes, of course there were manuals for it and protocols. There were even mass inventories of supplies on hand, but the onset and quick spread took everyone by surprise. Early on, decision making was inadequate, and leadership actions were withheld for political or personal reasons. Soon enough, though, support was being rolled out and the necessary scientific and epidemiological specialists got to work. Sensibility is the default of the majority, but the acts of very few can cause huge challenges when controlling this virus.

Five months in, your business is most likely back functioning, but no one would suggest fully…or as usual. You “now” normal is different than before, but it is something. There’s occasional dysfunction and chaos, confusion and concern, then there are the familiar normalities that creep in unexpectedly where they were business as usual last year.

What’s next? I’ve noticed a number of entrepreneurs have been driving and thriving with the hand they were dealt, but short-term responses are not the solutions needed to continue to build and grow a business. Now we are looking beyond 2020. There have been a lot of shifts or pivots made. Are these your new business model? Will the old model ever be back? Is the new initiative an add-on or has it taken a dominant role? And what about the kids and school, threats of a step back or closures and increased restrictions? Will your bank, landlord or the taxman still play ball? If you need a longer runway will you get it? These are some of the questions on the minds of a lot of people planning for their future. It has created a new stress.This is a time when you need objective input and someone from the outside of your business or industry or in your network who will share their ideas with you.

Here are some basic rules that you might find helpful:

1. Take care of your people. Build a plan to improve the culture in your business. Culture trumps strategy every day.

2. What do you want? With a chance to think, what do you want your business to be? Is it still the same as the plan you set forth in 2019, or has it changed? Maybe your perspective is different today.

3. What is your strategy to reach your goals? Maybe the new online marketing or offering you added is better than the old one. Or it is possible it is not. What will you stick with?

4. How will you measure success? A lot of entrepreneurs have taken steps to increase diversity, or inclusion in their workplaces. That mindfulness as a daily practice is as important as reviewing sales and KPIs.

Wherever you find yourself in this cycle, if you are at a crossroads between today’s new normal and planning for the future, relax. Don’t stress that which you can’t control – plan for it, but don’t try to manage or mitigate it. Plan to execute all you can control. Make your own destiny and be the author of your own success story.

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