I was handed the reins of P2 Consulting a year ago. And what a year to become a CEO. First I focused on the basics and removed any obstacles from our business, a strategy that was starting to pay dividends by the new year. But then along came the coronavirus pandemic. I had handled some big incidents in my time – bank payments failures, new regulatory regimes – but not big in the sense of a black swan event that makes the 2008 financial crash look like a walk in the park.
But if this pandemic has taught us anything it’s that you have to adapt – quickly. ‘Pivoting’ is probably the most overused phrase of 2020 (behind ‘social distancing’ and ‘the new norm’) but it’s true. Adapting quickly to new circumstances helps businesses survive.
We were able to do that, pretty effectively, I’m proud to say – in spite of the gloomy economic conditions, we managed to grow our business. So what are the big lessons we learned?
- Be creative: like the restaurants that developed delivery services, or the bars that put together ‘make your own cocktail’ packs, it’s creative, swift thinking that wins the day. Looking for new ways to engage with customers, adapting services to address the new challenges customers are facing – these are all ways that have helped companies to stay competitive in core markets
- Something borrowed: trying to find new ways of working as teams in this socially distanced world is something that is facing many businesses – and this is a really good area where you can learn from others. There are lots of great ideas out there. Australian Airlines ‘Pass the Pass’ turned into our ‘P2 Notebook Relay’ – ways to establish a sense of team and belonging are essential in these trying times and vital where it comes to supporting staff wellbeing
- Knowing that the disruption isn’t over: as we move towards the end of the year being locked down once more, the only thing that we can guarantee is that there will be more uncertainty and more disruption before it’s over. But big businesses still need to fix issues, improve their businesses and undergo transformation – just maybe in a different way to how they used to. This gives businesses like ours an opportunity to flex and develop solutions to the new problems companies are facing.
The biggest lesson we have learned in this troubled year is that we couldn’t do it without you – our employees, clients, partners – our network and our relationships are crucial and will continue to be so as this pandemic moves on.