Across the world, this pandemic is testing our resilience—as individuals and as a global society. It is overwhelming our healthcare system and taking lives. It is shuttering businesses and putting livelihoods at stake. At the same time, government officials and companies are preparing for an uncertain future, including a phased reopening plan with significant changes to how we live and work.
For those of us who are non-essential workers, we can choose one of two responses to the crisis. We can either rise to the challenge, adapt, and remain optimistic, or we retreat, isolate in more ways than physical, and wait for the wave of fear and anxiety to come crashing down.
My message to all business leaders right now is to be fearless—stay open-minded to rethinking your business model and search for new opportunities while your businesses are shutdown. Resist the urge to cling to the status quo, because our “new normal” does not allow for that. I’m encouraged by the many people who have reached out to me for support and guidance, just as I’ve reached out to my mentors and peers in the industry to discuss what’s next as we navigate this crisis together.
In terms of scenario planning for Convene, I’ve found reports from Imperial College and the American Enterprise Institute to be helpful in navigating the pandemic and planning for the future. They include the following assumptions, which we are using to guide our strategy:
So, how can your business survive the new normal? I’m sharing an outline of Convene’s Survive & Thrive strategy in the hopes that it will help you think through your own business planning for the next 12-18 months.
How we are surviving. Control what we can control.
What we will do to thrive. Convene 2.0.
As Steve Jobs famously said “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” At Convene, we are 100% focused on creating innovative new products and services that solves our customers’ challenges and fully aligns with the new world order. In addition, we are taking advantage of the opportunity to improve internal systems, processes, and reinforce the infrastructure of our core business.
Throughout it all, we’re relying on our incredible team to make this happen. We’re leaning into our core values of GRIT (genuine, relentless, integrity, and teamwork) to bring Convene back to its new level. We’re asking our team members to “normalize discomfort” as they exercise agility and stretch their skills in new and different ways. At the same time, we’re being empathetic to one another and leading with love and kindness. For me, that means I’m back to doing daily stand-ups, weekly all-hands townhalls, and offering more of my time for 1:1 meetings with all team members.
As an entrepreneur, I see opportunities where others see problems, and I challenge you to do the same. While there’s a lot of uncertainty in the world, my optimism for the future has never been stronger.
“Behind them a past forever destroyed, still quivering on its ruins… Before them the dawn of an immense horizon, the first gleams of the future… And between these two worlds, something that seems to be an ocean… A troubled sea filled with wreckage, traversed from time to time by some distant sail; the present, in a word, which separates the past from the future, which is neither the one nor the other, which resembles both, and where one cannot know whether, at each step, one treads on living matter or on dead refuse.”– Alfred de Musset’s Confession of a Child of the Century
The rules have changed. A new game is now being played. Our old assumptions replaced by a new set of expectations. Personally, I could not be more excited for the journey that lies ahead. It will be treacherous, but as entrepreneurs and leaders we have the talent, the vision, and the will to not just survive but thrive in this new world. More exciting yet —we can shape it.