Wednesday, July 29, 2020

It’s Time to Stop & See the Future: By DPHA Fellow Jeffrey Valles, Colonial Bronze.

Since the moment I started writing these articles, I have been sharing actions that I think are viable options to improve and strengthen your business and make your people better. We have discussed everything from new locations to new products. Business’ often ignored truth is that it is constantly changing, and the inquisitive and nimble companies discover the emerging opportunities and are able to move quickly and strategically to take advantage. Sometimes they fail and sometimes they succeed but, due to their speed to react, they are never outflanked by a competitor.

Now it’s time to slow down.

It’s obvious times are changing and nobody knows what will happen next week. Will that recent change last as few weeks, into 2021 or forever. We simply do not know.

We do know this:
  • Markets, strong and weak, are in turmoil.
  • Without reliable and timely testing, no one knows who has or does not have Covid-19.
  • A deliverable cure is many months away.
  • Therefore, markets will likely remain in turmoil for a while, but we must deliver some level of consistency in the way we have to work with our customers.
Now instead of speed, future thinking companies will need to be flexible, stable and quick to move when an opportunity presents itself. To prepare, we need to know the health of our own business. Not how its brand is seen in the market, but what are its true strengths and weaknesses.

I suggest sitting in a quiet room and making a list of what you were good at and what we were not good at prior to Covid-19. Then make the same list of your strengths and weaknesses in response to this pandemic. Let’s not fool ourselves, the process of doing business today has changed since March and we need to know how we stand in this new world. Now review in your mind how today’s team and its pandemic processes are working. This task will give you a nice list of what to work on to make your team better.

Then, to add a bit more focus, create three to five future scenarios of how you see the future of your target markets when the pandemic ceases to be the driving factor in your customers lives and the focus of governments. Sure, nobody knows what the future will be, but you know your customer and your market as well as anyone. If someone will see the future clearly in your world, you have better odds that most. So, give it a deep think. It might be worth your time to add that to the preparation list you built above.

If you want to bounce your ideas off fellow decorative plumbing and hardware market savvy people, make sure you attend DPHA CONNECT 2020 and sign up for the member roundtables.

Yes, tomorrow is full of questions and the future has rarely been so unclear and that means opportunity. It will be difficult to both improve your team and prepare them for this new normal. But is sitting and waiting a better way to prepare?

If your team improves and becomes more nimble, your company is prepared for whatever will emerge.

Dr. Peter Scoblic said it best.  "The way that I think scenario planning ought to be used and strategic foresight ought to be used more generally is in an iterative fashion. A constant cycle between imagining the future and acting in the present. So that you reduce the potential for surprise and you increase your ability to sense, shape and adapt to the future as it emerges."  Now, please slow down and get in that quiet room.

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