ASK ALAN: What 2020 taught us about business that can help in 2021
What 2020 Taught Us About Managing Our Businesses
I’ll bet you are more than ready to get past last year and move into the new one! The pandemic presented us with a set of challenges and opportunities that none of us could have imagined. I’d like to take a moment to look back on 2020 and assess what we’ve seen and learned.
The amazing things that can be done for your business in a crisis
Think about how much can be accomplished when the opportunity is right. At the start of the pandemic, a client was telling me that he had to move all 500 of his employees, to work from home, in just fifteen days. As impossible as it was, the entire move was completed on time, without a single lost or complaining customer. Or consider how quickly the scientific community developed a vaccine for COVID. Even with the rigorous safety tests required, with a new level of collaboration, the vaccine was approved in record time.
A new appreciation for human resilience
With all that has been hurled at us this year, often compounding tragedy upon difficulty, we have witnessed how magnificent human resilience is. We see that people adjust and make the best of what we can.
What are the most important things?
They are not things at all. When the smoke from the initial shock of the pandemic cleared, we had to re-evaluate what is most important. What we learned is that the people in our lives are the most important. Our connections. As social animals, we need family members and all the shareholders in our businesses. They are the most essential in our lives.
Businesses benefit from showing empathy
We have also learned a new set of business interactions during our customers’ time of need. These include accommodation, flexibility, safety, and other things people want and need under disruptive conditions. We have all witnessed companies that have “pivoted” quickly earning much goodwill from customers. Likewise, businesses that have not done that will have a long-term cost associated with it. Empathy is essential for your business. Many organizations have adjusted by moving compassion to the forefront.
The Customer Experience will continue to shape our attitude toward business
It seems like only yesterday — we were struggling to turn customer service cost centers into profit centers. Now we are about to witness a blending of digital technology, artificial intelligence (AI), and behavioral science to enlarge our understanding of what customers want and what they do to get it. There is a new, burgeoning field called Customer Science — it helps anticipate customer needs, so a business can make sure their customers receive it in personalized interaction.
Don’t forget personal development
Lastly, crises create an opportunity to learn, grow, and develop yourself personally. I also believe in giving back with coaching leaders that can benefit from a set of fresh eyes to manage the crises they face.