I’ve been in the sales and marketing technology space for 12 years on May 4th (and yes, the force was with me ?)
I’ve seen many changes in my time. It all started with a noisy modem and an internet with page load speeds of over an hour. It evolved to what we have now, a digital world which surrounds us and truly integrates with our personal and business life every minute of every day. One thing I’ve never seen is anything like COVID-19 – a killer virus sweeping the world. I’m not going to pretend I’m an expert on pandemics or that I know what’s going to happen next, because I don’t.
But taking a step back and thinking about what we as business leaders should do, I went through this thought process and came to the following conclusion:
So I’m big into my fitness, and by that I mean to “fanatic” level. Six days a week I hit the weights or go for a run. Wherever I am in the world, I do something fitness-related, any weather any time – I get after it. There are lots of similarities to fitness and running a business or a department. Every day is a learning curve, every day you adjust something small looking for those marginal gains; but also you have those days when you just can’t be bothered, and your body simply says no.
Those are the days when it’s vital to still make progress. Those are the days that make or break your progress. As I’ve matured, I’ve realised this. On those days I usually look to do some stretching, go for a walk and just do some general maintenance to set me up for a good start for the next day.
Those days are a bit like COVID-19: we can’t just give up or slow down when it gets tough. We can’t just quit or throw in the towel when we are challenged. As business leaders, we need to reassess our priorities. We need to use this difficult period to set ourselves up for that big push which might be tomorrow, or it might be 2021.
These are the days to get to grips with items such as data. Every business has data issues, and if things are a little quieter than usual, let’s fix that. Let’s implement that new system we’ve been putting off because you didn’t want it to affect “business as usual”. Let’s spend time with our people supporting them with their day to day roles. Let’s ensure the team is correctly aligned to the business goals or support adoption of that shiny toy you bought last year (and that nobody has learned to use yet).
Let’s integrate our technology stack and ensure it’s working at an optimal level. Now is the time to set up that CEO or CMO dashboard you have always wanted. Let’s take advantage of the change and build a battleship that’s going to blow away the competition when it is allowed to sail.
Yes, COVID-19 is pretty scary, and yes, I am shitting myself. But let’s not stand still and let our businesses drown when we can make an impact and set ourselves up for a bigger and better future.