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Adapt, Pivot or Reinvent

Adapt, Pivot or Reinvent

Decision-making, in its simplest form, is the process of acknowledging a problem, identifying options and choosing one based on the values and beliefs of the individual or organization. Decisions can be made either intuitively or through a process of rational thinking. Typically, it’s a combination of both.

We live in a turbulent world with many unknowns. Life has changed drastically. People are working from home and teaching their children at the same time. Many are unemployed and facing financial crisis. Stress levels are soaring, and restrictions continue to change by the day. Processes and systems that once worked need refining to meet today’s needs and demands. The bottom line — we all are under pressure to make up our minds and act on multiple levels.

The current economic environment has been hard on most local businesses. In order to keep things moving, people are finding creative ways to meet customers’ needs, or in some cases, pivoting completely to offer new products or services.

From my personal perspective, the hardest part is to not get trapped in fear. Fear is normal when faced with danger and uncertainty, but it also can be paralyzing and disempowering.

As the COVID-19 pandemic began to unfold, it was interesting to watch how people began to maneuver the sea of uncertainty. Some businesses closed immediately, some began to shift and take swift action to maximize income knowing they would be required to close their doors soon, and others put a stake in the ground pivoted. They evaluated resources, looked for alternatives, weighed options and adjusted.

Business Coach Michael Van Gerpen said, “Although we claim to understand that the world of business is always changing, the problem is most of us are failing to change with it. We continue to believe that what got us to where we are today can get us to where we want to go tomorrow.”

When we stop asking the important questions surrounding change, our assumptions, decisions and actions are typically just a continuation of what we’ve always done, which unfortunately keeps us right where we are instead of moving us forward.

Stress and pressure hinder our ability to make solid decisions because we are in flight-or-fight mode. To make a solid decision, it’s important to have a plan or framework in place so that we can fully understand the situation prior to acting.

An example of this might be putting a puzzle together. Most start by building the frame because then we have clues on how to fill in the rest of the pieces. 

Another example is starting with the end goal in mind. Once you decide where you want to ultimately end up, you can reverse engineer the process to make it happen. With clarity and focus, you know what you want to achieve and how you’re going to get there. Without it, you’re just spinning your wheels.


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