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Five Ways to Increase Flexibility in A Changing World

We certainly don’t want to say we may be back there again, but when the Covid-19 lockdowns began in early 2020, everyone was forced to adapt and find new ways to survive the sudden change in priorities.

Businesses were forced to operate in survival mode. People became more creative in their pursuits. Whether it is a pandemic, a power outage, wildfires, or some other kind of a natural disaster, here are some ways that you can increase your flexibility to adapt to evolving global challenges.

Whether we are talking about your own personal passions, or your business’ core strengths; focusing on doing what you do best makes the most of your resources, your expertise, and your assets. You may have to scale back or ramp up your efforts in a sustainable way in the short term, but it helps you to weather the storm, and ensures survival in the long term.

If its supply interruptions, take an inventory of what you have and try to ration it out or figure out how long you can do business as usual. Reconsider any discretionary spending you have planned and place it on hold if possible. Try not to make any drastic decisions and try to balance your decisions with at least a thought towards your most sustainable option.

Just as companies utilize doctors, lawyers, bookkeepers, accountants, janitorial services, etc., there are times when it is much easier and sometimes more economical to create relationships that align with your best interests and trajectory.

Identifying your limitations and weaknesses will free up more time and provide you the ability to ramp up or down your service levels quickly and give you additional leverage when you need it most.

Building relationships with other companies before the disaster could give you varying degrees of leverage when disasters strike. The better the relationship the greater advantage and increase the odds of a successful outcome.

Don’t Panic by Planning for Success and Planning for Failures

We all suffer from a fear of the unknown to some degree or another. The easiest way to avoid panicking is to be prepared. That is why we have fire drills in schools, earthquake drills, tornado drills, lifeboat drills, lockdown drills, and even flight safety demonstrations every time we fly. These have been proven to save lives when an emergency happens. That is why so many companies take the time to create, distribute and practice a plan for most emergencies.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Having a plan, keeping it updated, and doing the drills helps to maintain order and avoid panic. You may never need to implement it, but having a plan becomes invaluable when you need it.

It is a good idea to have off-site or cloud back-ups, a contingency plan for an alternative base of operations, and even an emergency phone tree or group text message list.

Contacting your team quickly can help them avoid entering a dangerous situation. It is also a great idea to have your team members send an email or text just to let you know that they made it home safe in certain situations.

Don’t get bogged down by what you cannot do. Brainstorm with your team and find alternative opportunities to remain functional.

Restaurants adapted during the lockdowns, they found new ways to reduce losses and survive the challenge. One local Chinese restaurant started selling eggs to customers, as they had a lot of them on hand. Others offered takeout, curbside service.

Sometimes it is as simple as adapting what you already have but used in a new and more advantageous way. Sometimes it is doing whatever it takes to hunker down until the storm or challenge has passed.

Communicate With Your Team

Open a dialogue with your team and offer incentives for suggestions and creative ideas. Most people will respond favorably when asked for their opinion and input. Making it a competition may also increase participation. This can be a great way to find innovative ways to save money, find a new direction to expand, or even a simple way to modernize and update the way things are currently handled.

Just because someone is hired to do one job for you, you never know what other talents they may have to benefit the team. Give your employees a chance to shine, and then be sure to give them praise and credit for their input.

While every situation is unique, I think we all can find inspiration while looking for creative approaches that may help resiliency, flexibility, and find the right balance to succeed through unexpected obstacles in this ever-changing world.

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