I recently heard a story about Albert Einstein.
He had just given an exam to the seniors in the physics class he taught. While collecting the completed tests, his aide noticed a similarity between the exam the students just took and the one Einstein had given the class when they were juniors the year before.
When she questioned him, he admitted they were indeed the same exams. She asked him why he wasn’t concerned that the questions this year were exactly the same as last year's. Einstein replied, “Because the answers have changed.”
That got me thinking…
Why is it that once we find an answer to a problem, we don’t revisit that situation in the future to see if we can come up with a better alternative?
How often do we present ourselves with only one solution to a problem and call it a day?
Why do we tend to look at a problem from only one perspective or with only one focus?
How often do we confine our solutions to fit within a prescribed set of restrictions or parameters?
Is it because we assume nothing’s changed?
Do we tell ourselves “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”
Are we not inspired or do we have other priorities?
Do we lack the bandwidth or time we’d need to invest in new solutions?
Or, is it because we don’t have the “know how” or the confidence to determine the problem, let alone come up with multiple solutions?
And if that’s the case, do we know who can identify the problem and then solve it for us? Is it an employee? Is it an internal department? If so, do they have the expertise, time and resources?
Or do we need to go out of house to get it done? If so, where do we go?
Those are the types of questions we often put off if we spend most of our time working “IN” our business - performing daily tasks and putting out fires - and not enough time working “ON” on our business, positioning it for the future.
This pandemic is providing us all with opportunities to become much better companies.
It’s easy to be successful when the economy is rockin’, but it’s during times like these that business leaders earn their stripes.
So, how do you better position your company?
First, start by performing audits - deep audits. I’d suggest auditing your marketing (with a special emphasis on your digital strengths and weaknesses); your competitive landscape, and how you’re positioned in it; and your customer experience (across all touchpoints). I also recommend analyzing your product and service offerings, distribution channels, and your CRM and workflow systems.
Second, look at which functions you want to bring or keep in-house, and which you should outsource.
Finally, prioritize your initiatives into three stages: 1) getting through this immediate situation, 2) positioning yourself to quickly take off once the economy re-opens, and 3) driving the new company you want to be.