Many times after a big game, the Coach is asked what made a difference in the game. Adaptability is often the key word, along with a strategy of consistent hard work in practice. An athlete is trained according to the game plan, but also trains for the unknown. I have heard interviews after a game or sporting competition where coaches and athletes talk about practicing in situations where the lights go out, poor field conditions, etc. In other words, they are trained to become adaptable.
Adaptability is a strategy that translates into all aspects of life, including business and leadership. In today's world of COVID-19, adaptability is the name of the game. However; while practiced in the athletic world, it's a strategy that is not often practiced in the business and leadership world until there is a major change in the environment.
It's easy to put together your business plan and/or growth plan and follow. But what happens when you are thrown a loop? As a leader, you must reassess your strategy, processes and expectations. To be successful, this is critical to be done quickly for the overall success of the organization and to get buy-in of the directional changes from your staff. If the rest of the organization is not on-board, continued success will be difficult.
Most recently, we have seen two industries who have been affected largely by COVID-19 show great adaptability. Those organizations who have shown adaptability within the Food and Beverage Industry and Sports and Entertainment Industry will be successful during a time when both industries are all, but shut down.
Restaurants have been on a roller coaster since early March. Immediately being closed down in most cities, but open for take out only and then reopened and then closed again for indoor dining. We have seen the restaurants who adapted and unfortunately, those who have not been able to adapt. The restaurants who have adapted are the restaurants who started delivery and marketed easy curb side pick up. Now, at least in California, we are seeing restaurants turn their parking lots, sidewalks, and alleys into outdoor dining. They have shown adaptability by looking at what the current environment options are and how they can fit into this environment and be successful.
Sports and Entertainment Venues have been hit hard during this time period as well. Indoor facilities are completely shut down across most of the country and world. However; the industry is known for resiliency and creative adaptability is being showcased. If fans cannot come inside, then bring the inside to the outside. We are now seeing the resurgence of the drive-in! Drive-in concerts and drive-in movies are now popping up in parking lots of arenas and on the ground level of stadiums. While in normal times, this would not be the most economical strategy, it has become a way for some employees to stay employed, vendors to be employed, venue sponsors to receive exposure, and entertainment to be offered in a safe environment. While it's not a long-term strategy, it's a (hopefully) short term solution for the current environment.
When faced with a deviation from your business and/or growth plans, remember the following:
Assess the current environment
Ask yourself, how can we (I) be successful within the current enviornment
Listen to your staff, customers, partners and ask them the same question
Don't be in fear of change or deviance from the plan, flexibility is needed
Keep calm, stay focused, and act quickly
Even when times are certain, it's always good to reassess your environment, proceceeses and game plan. By practicing adaptability, you will be ready for when the times comes that you need deviate from your plan. Change is ineveitbable and being ready to adapt during any situation will reap positive benefits for you and your organization in the future.