COVID-19 has spawned its own vocabulary. “Physical distancing","super spreaders" and “elbow bump” have all come to mean very specific things over the past 12 months in terms of the way we relate to one another. During the pandemic, the word “pivot” has come to represent how businesses have sought out new revenue streams while unable to tap into their traditional means of earning income. Clearly the Coronavirus has forced businesses to adapt the world over. But is your business really pivoting or are you going through a complete business transformation from product and process strategy to delivery?
As is the case for many industries, Covid has changed our arena of business consulting. For the past 15 years, our favored approach was to visit a client site where we can absorb and assess the sights, smells, sounds and the aura of culture. We then could formulate a recipe of success specific to that client with rapid returns.
Desire to travel thwarted, plus current travel restrictions in effect, makes in-person physical meetings a distant memory. Yet the need for business improvement still exists and is perhaps even amplified. Our passion to help others has not been subdued. So what is the answer? A Digital Transformation that would still allow us to coach on the application of Lean methodologies to provide a path for transformation for our business while continuing to add high value to a wide range of industries.
Safety first – Don’t underestimate Cyber-Security.
The first thing we knew was that, however we transformed, it had to be secure. For many businesses, ours included, a digital solution has become a mainstay of the new equation. Thankfully, we humans have become more tolerant and accepting of digital interactions as they now become a common element within our daily life. But with that acceptance also comes risk: Risks of cyber-security and cyber-attacks.
As we developed our Enhanced Digital Footprint with the assistance through the Toronto Board of Trade RAP program, they did a section about cyber-security. We do not retain any customer specific information and are very careful about how we retain customer files and data complying to the Canadian Controlled Goods guideline. Imagine my surprise to the following response if we needed any additional protection?
If is not a matter of “if” it is a matter of “when” and yes you should invest in having some sort of Cyber-Security Insurance coverage. Even a simple breach could cost you 10-100K just to send e-mails and offer credit monitoring. Frankly, this was something I did not know existed and my accounting and insurance companies had never tagged for us to consider.
Our humble little web-site witnesses up to 1.5 million attacks per month! Therefore, a critical element of your transformation has to be increasing your resistance to cyber-attacks, especially as incidents of ransomware are exponentially on the increase. A successful attack could 1) cripple your business, 2) cost a lot of money or 3) cost you your business, either physically or indirectly, as customers start to avoid you.
With security a paramount concern to protect ourselves and our clients who are willing to share the gift of their Intellectual Property, it is not only prudent but imperative that we cherish and protect that gift of information.
Change your offering
Over the past year, businesses have had to adapt, and adapt quickly. We knew that organizations, our clients among them, are migrating through a tsunami of change. Because of the pandemic, changes are being made intuitively with the concept that they will only be temporary in nature. In the past, we would work with our clients onsite to navigate change management, something that we haven’t been able to do in a year. A result, we launched a fractional consulting service. Our solution, Organizational First Aid, is an accessible tool to receive organizational support from process experts, designed specifically to aid decision-makers. Wherever they are in the world, Organizational First Aid is a solution that allows leaders to access live virtual support from Lean Practitioner industry experts in short sessions at a low cost. In so doing, leaders can quickly receive the coaching they need in order to make optimal decisions about operations, processes and people management.
The added benefit is that now we are accessible to leaders at any level within any organization that may have been shy to ask for help due to either time or financial constraints. Ultimately, we can help more organizations virtually without the need to provide a proposal, wait for approval, book travel and visit a site to assess.
Change your delivery
When you can’t open the doors to your store, you still have to figure out a way to get your products into the hands of your customers. Ecommerce boomed in 2020 as businesses raced to get their offering online quickly and efficiently.
As consultants and improvement coaches, we had to figure out how to deliver E-learning that matches the quality of our in-person delivery. When on-site, it is easy to share stories and speak to one slide for hours while monitoring our class’s facial and body expressions to ensure we keep them engaged but more important that they are absorbing.
A transition to E-Learning even for skilled trainers is not just a simple change of venue but adds a whole new dimension to your delivery to ensure student engagement, comprehension and application. Students will not sit in a chair for a whole day learning virtually but need short, high impact lessons. Anything beyond a two-hour engagement you will lose their interest. Since body language and facial impressions cannot be monitored the same way with E-learning, these subtle clues need to be replaced with comprehensive testing and feedback analytics so courses can be quickly adjusted.
Is this a pivot? No, it is most likely a complete rethink of your business strategy and it is going to require looking deeper to be more effective while providing value to your customer. As devastating as the pandemic has been for so many people, both personally and professionally, it has also given us an opportunity to reimagine our business in ways we never thought possible. While we hope for the demise of the ‘elbow bump’ and the return of the handshake – or even the hug – we also hope that this challenging time spawns innovation, rewards flexibility and ultimately helps us shift the way we work for the better.