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Are you really Pivoting?

The current travel restrictions in effect makes in-person physical meetings a distant memory. Yet, the need for business improvement still exists and is perhaps even amplified.

April 14, 2021   by Richard Kunst

PHOTO: Buffaloboy / Adobe Stock

COVID-19 has spawned its own vocabulary. “Physical distancing”, “super spreaders” and “elbow bump” have all come to mean very specific things over the past 12 months, in terms of the way we relate to one another. During the pandemic, the word “pivot” has come to represent how businesses have sought out new revenue streams, while unable to tap into their traditional means of earning income. Clearly, the Coronavirus has forced businesses to adapt the world over. But is your business really pivoting, or are you going through a complete business transformation, from product and process strategy to delivery?

As is the case for many industries, COVID-19 has changed the arena of business consulting. For the past 15 years, the favoured approach was to visit a client site, where consultants can absorb and assess the sights, smells, sounds and the aura of culture. Consultants then could formulate a recipe of success specific to that client with rapid returns.

Desire to travel thwarted, plus current travel restrictions in effect, makes in-person physical meetings a distant memory. Yet, the need for business improvement still exists and is perhaps even amplified. The passion to help others has not been subdued. Therefore, what is the answer? A digital transformation that would still allow coaching on the application of lean methodologies, to provide a path for transformation of businesses, while continuing to add high value to a wide range of industries.

Safety first
The first thing to know was that, however the transformation was, it had to be secure. For many businesses, a digital solution has become a mainstay of the new equation. Thankfully, people have become more tolerant and accepting of digital interactions, as they now become a common element within daily life. However, with that acceptance also come risks; such as cyber security and cyber attacks. Kunst Solutions’ website witnesses up to 1.5 million attacks per month. Therefore, a critical element of your transformation has to be increasing your resistance to cyber attacks, especially as incidents of ransomware are exponentially on the increase. A successful attack could 1) cripple your business, 2) cost a lot of money or 3) cost you your business, either physically or indirectly, as customers start to avoid you.

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With security a paramount concern to protect websites, and our clients who are willing to share the gift of their intellectual property, it is not only prudent, but imperative to cherish and protect that gift of information.

Change your offering
Over the past year, businesses have had to adapt, and adapt quickly. Not to mention that organizations, and clients among them, are migrating through a tsunami of change. Because of the pandemic, changes are being made intuitively with the concept that they will only be temporary in nature. In the past, work would be with clients on-site to navigate change management; something that was not an option for a year.

Change your delivery
When you cannot open the doors to your store, you still have to figure out a way to get your products into the hands of your customers. E-commerce boomed in 2020, as businesses raced to get their offering online quickly and efficiently.

The passion to help others has not been subdued. Therefore, what is the answer? A digital transformation that would still allow coaching on the application of lean methodologies, to provide a path for transformation of businesses, while continuing to add high value to a wide range of industries.

As consultants and improvement coaches, the company had to figure out how to deliver e-learning that matches the quality of in-person delivery. When on-site, it is easy to share stories and speak to one slide for hours, while monitoring the class’s facial and body expressions to ensure keeping them engaged, but more important that they are absorbing.

A transition to e-learning, even for skilled trainers, is not just a simple change of venue, but adds a whole new dimension to your delivery to ensure student engagement, comprehension and application. Students will not sit in a chair for a whole day learning virtually, but they need short, high impact lessons. Anything beyond a two-hour engagement you will lose their interest. Since body language and facial impressions cannot be monitored the same way with e-learning, these subtle clues need to be replaced with comprehensive testing and feedback analytics so courses can be quickly adjusted.

Is this a pivot? No, it is most likely a complete rethink of your business strategy, and it is going to require looking deeper to be more effective, while providing value to your customer. As devastating as the pandemic has been for so many people, both personally and professionally, it has also given us an opportunity to re-imagine businesses in ways we never thought possible.

While people hope for the demise of the “elbow bump” and the return of the handshake, or even the hug, it is also hoped that this challenging time spawns innovation, rewards flexibility and ultimately helps people shift the way they work for the better.
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Richard Kunst is an author, speaker and seasoned lean practitioner based in Toronto, who leads a holistic practice to coach, mentor and provide management solutions to help companies implement or accelerate their excellence journeys. You can reach him at:
www.kunstsolutions.com.

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