Pivoting is something you learn in skateboarding very early on. You have to otherwise crashes and injuries will fast come your way. Some boards pivot better than others, but it’s a skill you need no matter what type of board you ride. It’s all also a great skill to have as business owner and leader. Firstly, we need to get our attitude and mindset right. You need to believe it’s actually possible for you to pivot. Napoleon Hill wrote, “Every adversity comes with a seed for greater opportunity”. If we want to pivot with success, we need to really believe this because how we view things is how we will do things.
So, assuming your mindset is correct, how do you pivot? Do you have to abandon all your skills and learning and disappear on a new tangent? Well that is always an option but there are other ways to pivot that could be faster and leverage what you already have invested in terms of people, resources, assets and knowledge. The key here is to ask yourself four questions:
- Who are we?
- What do we do?
- Why does it matter?
- Who else needs this now?
Here are how some of my clients are “pivoting with positivity” in these challenging times after doing this exercise.
A client in the high-end home kitchen renovation business pivoted to home office construction. The owners had a look at what they did in terms of purpose and skills they could offer and the market need. They did high quality, efficient and effective renovations that made owners happy and increased the value of homes. What was needed now? Home offices. This could be a simple dividing wall or a customisation of a spare room.
A client pivoting from leisure sales of boats to a focus on government and business sales of boats. While discretionary spending on things like boats has essentially disappeared there are still needs for boats but from a new untapped market. Government departments need to increase their border protection work. State Governments need to police waterways and Fisheries need to do their work.
A client pivoting from providing web services to web coaching for business owners with time on their hands now. This client ran a successful business working from retainers assisting busy business owners with online marketing and web services. After a week of disappointing calls as business owner cancelled their retainers or cut back significantly the owners re looked at their business. They had trusted relationships, they had proven skills. So they offered coaching sessions and training lessons.
A client in financial services moved 75 per cent of their B2B outbound sales team to their customer service desk equipped with new call scripts that check in on business owners first and foremost. This pivot provided additional benefits of having the sales team experience customer service calls which aided increased skills in emotional intelligence and empathy, added to collaboration between the sales and service teams and sped up customer service calls and, in turn, NPS scores.
Another example is Coldplay’s Chris Martin. Coldplay were to get together to record some new songs, however, COVID-19 meant the band members were stuck in various locations around the world. Rather than dwell on the problem, Chris decided to pivot from live stage to Instagram Live and playing requests from his home studio sent in by Coldplay fans from around the world.
Remember, positive thinking with positive action makes it all possible!
Rob Hartnett, CEO, The Hartnett Group and author of “It’s all possible – how to lead an epic life and unleash the high performance hero within”