COVID-19: July Insights

COVID-19: July Insights

Are We There Yet?

As our COVID-19 journey stretches into its fifth month and road trips become the default holiday option this summer, we are reminded of the impatience of young children in the back seat incessantly asking, “Are we there yet?”

The reality is that we still have a long way to go.  Those who choose to see the challenges and frustrations presented in this environment as opportunities are finding new ways to do business, and new opportunities to establish themselves as leaders in the market. Take heart, embrace the journey, and #keepgoing.

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”

– Confucius

Our recent Incite leadership team retreat surfaced three reminders we wish to share with you:

1. Give more than you take. Observing the steady increase — through COVID-19 —of sales promotions, new service offerings, and requests to connect in our inboxes and LinkedIn feeds, we are reminded of a story a close friend shared with us years ago. He had reached out to a long-time mentor for a reference letter to support an application for a new opportunity he was pursuing. His mentor called him and said he would be happy to oblige, and then, after a pause, added, “It would be nice to hear from you sometime when you didn’t need something from me!” A powerful message.

When was the last time your clients, colleagues, or friends heard from you when you didn’t need or want something from them? How are you ensuring that you give more than you take? A referral, a book recommendation, sharing an article of interest to their industry, or simply calling to check in are all simple ways to show those important to you that they matter beyond how they can help you.

2. Adapt your goals to your new environment. How do you reset and avoid feeling deflated by the new business environment? We’ve seen several business owners (ourselves included) lose motivation in recent months as they compare their year-over-year results. While we always advocate stretch targets and pushing for excellence, it is important to also adapt to changing market realities.

For example, imagine you’ve spent months preparing for a marathon with the intention of running a personal best. You show up on race day to a heat wave with temperatures above 30ºC and high humidity. Do you still go for it? Or do you reset your expectations? Most entrepreneurs still want to pull off that  personal best despite the conditions, but the experienced runner knows that will almost certainly lead to blowing up and failing to finish the race. Sometimes conditions aren’t in your favour and you need to adapt. What is an excellent result given conditions on race day? In light of COVID-19, you may need to revisit your goals, adapt your strategy, and then get after it.

3. Slow and steady wins the race. Much like the Confucius quote at the start of this article, what matters most is that you keep going. Despite the many articles on innovation and Hollywood movie scripts to the contrary, business success is primarily the result of a slow and relentlessly steady climb to the top. There are few shortcuts. Each step brings you further ahead, even if many days feel like your efforts have done little to advance your cause. Your inner child in the back seat will drive you crazy wanting to know, “Are we there yet?”

When that happens, remember to pause, smile, and remind yourself that while you may still have a long way to go, you are one step closer.

Ted Kouri
[email protected]

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