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How Has Business Changed For You?
As the global pandemic evolves, how are your contacts reacting to the virus and changing business environment? Are you seeing your clients and prospects being responsive to your emails and calls? Are they willing to take virtual meetings? Or are they taking the ‘wait and see’ approach on new and existing engagements?
So far I believe everyone is just trying to figure out just what to do and what works. I have had a mixture of phone, email and zoom calls and so far so good.
We are seeing many businesses pull or postpone their current job postings, due to uncertainty in the market, potential urgent needs to evaluate business (re) focus and delayed decision making.
It is busier in my world. I work in governance and leadership and this acute risk response atmosphere has put pressure on these systems/processes. Worse - it has revealed how important they are in companies that had weak leadership or lack of governance. Prioritization of time and dollars is key now.
I’m working for a mid-sized Engineering/Manufacturing company. The old culture was a “be seen” culture, and people were rewarded financially for this. Also many of our managers and Sr. Leaders are used to micro managing work. So this is a BIG deal. Additionally, we didn’t have the technology to support a WFH environment.
We have move those that can, to a WFH environment. Our daily “stand-up” meetings are continuing via Web-ex. We have evaluated our open positions for criticality, and have instituted virtual interviews.
We will hopefully have some sort of Instant Messaging platform up by next week.
Understanding that is really big change for most of the Leaders/Managers, our CEO and myself are sending out daily email, and having phone conversations to help them figure out managing in a virtual world.
Our manufacturing plants remains open (because it has to). We have distanced people to the extent possible.
On a personal note, we have daily “coffee” zoom, video calls with family members each morning. I’m thinking of starting this with my team.
Stay safe everyone. This too shall pass
In-person workshops have been canceled, so I've turned to virtual meetings and workshops. With today's technology, it's possible to have meaningful video meetings, and that's critical, because when you can see the other person you know if they are or are not engaged. I had four yesterday and all were fruitful.
I've also been communicating the following to my clients - and this is certainly something others are doing as well - in the current environment, the common approach is to hunker down, cut all non-essential expenses, and hope to ride things out. And while on the surface that looks like it makes sense, there are serious risks involved. The primary risk is that once things turn around, companies that take the hunker down approach will be well behind those that choose to use this downtime to upskill various individuals or departments. Take salespeople, for example. Just because customers are not buying, or responding to communications, or taking virtual meetings doesn't mean the salesperson should shut down. Rather than double down on social media, emails, etc., what about learning some new skills that will make you even more valuable when we come out on the other side? That's what I am doing and I encourage others to do the same and to encourage their customers to take this approach as well. If someone has been furloughed, or even let go, instead of doing nothing, do something productive so you're even more valuable when it's time to get back at it.
Sounds easy and straightforward, and I know it's not. But it's better than wallowing in self-pity.
My potential customers and prospects have been responsive and I've been scheduling phone calls, conference calls and video calls. Most of my career I've worked remotely for companies HQ'd elsewhere and clients around the globe so this comes naturally. Some calls/meetings are getting pushed out but new opportunities continue to emerge. The biggest challenge is that the company I'm currently helping to grow on a PT basis is very old school and other than myself nobody has a conference bridge or video conferencing tools or even ability to project a laptop on a screen. The founder of the company's participation is required in order to close any business and he believes that if we can't meet in person there's no possibility of holding a successful meeting and he does not like being on video calls. Several potential clients have commented that it appears that our company doesn't know how to work from home, which is true. As a result my hours have been cut down to nearly nothing as founder believes we shouldn't even try to develop business until this is all over. I doubt the company will survive until this is over if I can't help get them over the speed bump of conducting business remotely. Having spent my entire career up until now in the tech sector, I have little experience in having to encourage colleagues to utilize technology tools. Having successfully convinced the company of the benefits of allowing me to implement a CRM, I think there is some hope. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.