THERE IS A BREAK IN THE CLOUDS

Posted on March 18, 2020 by Mark Barnard, President/CEO

At this point you are highly informed that this is an international pandemic and are probably beginning conversations with your team about how this is going to affect business and how you are going to keep your people safe and well. It is widely thought that the panic should start to subside as the outbreak curve flattens, and then decreases over the next 4-8 weeks.

There are numerous fears out there right now. Financial worry is only a part of the panic which is going to hurt our businesses in the near future. This is uncharted waters and that alone has many people nervous and all the news is full of gloom, which is not helping. People are fearful when it comes to catching the virus and are doing some pretty crazy things to “protect” themselves by hoarding sanitizer, food, supplies, and somewhat concerning ammunition. These fears have created panic all over the country; and businesses (unless you sell toilet paper and hand sanitizer) are starting to feel the pain from it. Although the daily stock market continues to shrink by record amounts, just about all indicators are pointing to the fact that this will be a short recession. There’s a quietness while people are waiting to get back to “business as usual,” while the professionals work on a cure to this crazy outbreak.

Let’s put the fears aside for a moment and think . . . How can your company benefit from this situation? Benefit from a downturn? Is that possible? Short answer, yes with the added time we find forced upon us. While it appears that the potential slowdown will be short lived (12 months or less), this is an opportunity for your company to make some improvements to the overall performance and quality of your organization while this window of opportunity is open. Truth is, most of us are now finding time on our hands and it seems likely that this distancing will go on for the next 30-45 days.

Take some time to:

Evaluate your business: You have time now to evaluate your company, processes, and of course, your people. Look at your systems, policies, and procedures. Look at things you have been pushing off because you’ve been too busy. The time is now to evaluate, address, and make changes. Speaking with the president of a large millwork distributor, he told me he was looking at his outside sales force, now grounded in home offices and taking the opportunity to do sales training. His goal is to train the team to sell more on service and get away from the normal “coffee and donuts” sales call.

Look at your Bench Strength: Great companies are always on the lookout for great people. When your competition is stepping off the gas and putting on the brakes, it is time for those great companies to accelerate and take advantage of the available talent pool to strengthen their bench. It is OK to evaluate your team and make decisions on adding or even changing out personnel.

Several of our clients have recognized this as a time to capitalize on newly available, talent that the competitors may be letting go as they go into “preparation mode” for the storm ahead. Now is the time to brace yourself and push forward with a robust plan to compete in what may be the next slow down. It is the appropriate step to look at our teams, strengthen where necessary and work with them and adding training for the next chapter.

We can look beyond the clouds and see the potential that will come out of this storm. Stay positive and communicate with your teams more than ever!

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