“Innovation and creativity love crises and constraints.” So says innovation expert, coach and educator Jay Rao,
who celebrates the range of business advances that have emerged during the pandemic. “At its heart, entrepreneurial leadership is about problem solving.”
That’s why, when I considered what my company and I have learned from the pandemic and our response to it, I thought this: “Now, we are all entrepreneurs.”
The effects of the pandemic have been extraordinarily tough on business. We’ve changed where, when and how we work, lost some of our confidence about health and safety, and been forced to run a bit leaner and faster. But ultimately, it’s as if we’ve gone through business reboot
camp! Like you, we are more resourceful businesspeople, and from every team member’s perspective, it’s reinforced an entrepreneurial mindset. Here’s how:
We are better at understanding our clients, assignees and providers. The interesting thing about working through a crisis like this one is that our best product is the quality of our communications. For the most part, we can’t visit with clients, counsel transitioning employees face-to-face, or welcome providers to an in-person brainstorming session. That being said, we’re honing our communication skills in our new normal and there’s a strong entrepreneurial orientation in the way we listen and respond. Though our company is familiar to everyone in our business circles, we’re all learning a new way to work together.
We’re increasing our agility, efficiency and teamwork. Wide-scale remote work has its drawbacks,
and I look forward to the day when our team members can come back to our various facilities and work side by side again. In the meantime, the remote working relationships we’ve developed are nothing short of remarkable. Our team members fully embraced remote work, helping us iron out early tech issues, demonstrating noteworthy efficiency and productivity, and displaying open-mindedness to unique solutions and alternatives. Each person is empowered and trusted to manage their work, space and time, creating more autonomy and flexibility; more of a “self-starter” work environment. We’ve always been a tight team but pulling together this year has shown us that we can bring our personalities and know-how to video conferencing in big and
small meetings, work across locations and departments, and exercise our agility around specific needs and activities.
We’re good at navigating uncertainty. Entrepreneurial leaders and team members have some defining traits that
help them innovate toward the future. Surprise! They are the same ones we have developed over years of mobility work! We have always worked in a change-rich environment, so we’re exceptional risk managers, we understand and can navigate uncertainty, and we are not afraid of ambiguity — in fact, we are Plan B masters!
We’re accelerating our learning. The changes in our work processes have been somewhat like hiring an organizational consultant. By that I mean the shift in the flow of our work, and in how we work, has shown us where we need talent and coverage, and the best way to deploy our team members; adapting their skills and roles to build on our resilience and responsiveness. We’ve learned when and where our clients need additional support, how to manage and collaborate through a crisis, when to speed up and when to moderate our strategy. And because we’re experiencing remote working ourselves, we have a keener lens on the changes our clients may be making in the future, as they blend remote work talent with traditional in-person employees.
We’re boosting our creativity. When we think like entrepreneurs, we can be transformative to a team or a
company. The early business impact of the pandemic slowed us down and gave us time to step back and look at our work with a fresh perspective. Now we enjoy a new-found agility, we’ve rediscovered our ability to be fast learners who share our knowledge generously, and we’ve envisioned outcomes that draw on a completely new viewpoint or combine a number of intelligent solutions.
It comes down to this: Companies are as resilient and innovative as their workforces. There are benchmarking
examples of this kind of expediency all around us: consider how some medical consultations have transitioned – even temporarily – to video, and consumer banks quickly increased employee cross-training as the demand for mortgage refinance applications surged.
Collectively and individually, we’re at our strongest when we’re mindful about the next generation of services or service delivery that’s needed. Looking back over this year, I’m pleased at how well our team acknowledged that, though we may be experiencing a short- or long-term “distance economy,” it didn’t faze them. They were practical and determined; they dug in, adapted to the new conditions, and did the work they needed to do.
And now, we are all entrepreneurs.
Janelle Piatkowski, SGMS
President and CEO
Cornerstone Relocation Group®