A pivot is a strategy that allows you to regroup and grow your business, even when the world changes on you.
After the economic downturn of 2007-08, I sat in my dining room almost in tears as I realized the way I was doing business was obsolete.
I was paying attention to several things. Every new technique, flavor of the month that people were getting certified in. I was looking at how many new retirees, early retirees, downsizers, and buyout executives were hanging their shingles out as consultants. I was looking at how corporations had slashed their training budgets and were spending very little on anything that didn’t generate revenue. I was suddenly aware at how the marketing landscape had changed.
I was thankful for my nonprofit clients that had grants for us to do our work together. And the foundation world seemed tenuous given the investment losses they experienced. We were experiencing extensive government cuts in every area at the end of the Bush Administration.
My scanning was in desperation overdrive. I knew I needed help. I engaged two coaches to help me organize my thoughts, get out of panic mode and get strategic in my thinking. With their help, I got clear about what I wanted and what I was missing in my scanning process.
First piece of good advice was to subcontract with colleagues and say yes to some longer term contracts even if it was at a discounted rate to provide revenue stability.
Second piece of good advice was to review my services with specific questions in mind as the first step to rebranding. It went something like this:
- What are you really good at,
- Where are you providing the most powerful results
- What do you enjoy the most
- What allows you to do your best work
- What do you want
- What kind of folk to you most enjoy working with
- What kind of experience are you looking to have now
- How will you be changed because you had this experience
- What is needed to create this experience every day for yourself
This opened my thinking, raised some of my pet peeves, and allowed me to begin scanning to see more of what was happening with me internally not just what was happening in my external environment.
- Some of what I noticed was that traditional strategic planning took too long in a fast pace changing world. Most strategic plans had no implementation attached to it and most were not very strategic as they were operational. (My personal pet peeves)
- Newer organizations were pretty streamlined and moving at a fast pace.
- Older organizations often got bogged down in being slow to act to changes in the environment
- Young people were ready to move to action and execute once they figured out what they were going to do. And they didn’t want to take 6-8 months to figure it out. And at the pace of technological and world changes, if you took 6-8 months for create your strategic plan, it would be time to do it over because the world would have changed and your assumptions would be obsolete.
- The data was telling us that coaching was more effective at changing employee behavior in sustainable ways than any kind of training.
- And the kinds of meetings organizations were having needed clear and tangible results which only good design and facilitation could deliver
- Most people did not understand process and weren’t interested they were focused on results and to get the results you needed a well-designed and effectively facilitated meeting.
- I felt most alive when I was in front of the group supporting them figuring out how to deal with some challenge or issue and still get what they wanted
- I felt most alive when I was working with leaders and supporting their breaking through some challenge or issue that was blocking their success
- I loved working with doer, who were ready to take on the work of making their vision real.
- I wanted to be around people who were alive, energized, excited about what they were doing and becoming and valued to process that would get them the results they were dreaming about
- I loved working with action oriented smaller organizations that were willing to get in the room and roll their sleeves up and figure it out
- I was a master facilitator, strategist and coach
I got super clear and went back to my facilitation, coaching, change, and planning roots grounded in Gestalt OSD and Technology of Participation and Whole Scale Change. I was reminded that the depth of having worked with hundreds of organizations and leaders was valuable.
With the help of my coach, I scaled down to 3 clear offerings:
- 3-day fast paced strategic planning process that would include implementation action plans and follow up coaching to the leader
- Meeting facilitation for when you just needed to get stuff done or figure out some issue or challenge
- Business & Leadership coaching packages that allowed clients to achieve measurable results.
I got laser on my ideal client. I got clear about who I was and rebranded my websites, my sales process, my marketing materials. I made the pivot.
Today, our world is changing even faster and in more unpredictable ways than ever. We all need listening and scanning. We need clarity of vision, intention, goals, and strategy. We need to be scanning so we know when and how to move in every moment. Even in a pivot moment, what makes it work is that you are still moving consciously to create your vision but not attached necessarily to how you get there so that when things shift and change you shift your strategy or method easily and keep moving positively forward.
Supporting leaders in digesting the information they have, making meaning of that information, and figuring out what that means for their business or organizations has become a sweet spot for me with my coaching clients. I am clear that my clients and I are building our collective trust in our intuitive knowing so that the muscles of discernment and action are well honed as we move through these uncertain times.
What is supporting you these days in staying grounded and focused on what you are creating? What changes in your environment and industry are you seeing that you need to consider as you move forward?