22nd April 2020

One Huge Experiment

A Huge Experiment

I am fortunate in that I speak with lots of business owners and leaders every week and I have been blown away by their resilience and adaptability in these times.

This week I held session for the Entrepreneurs Forum Scale Up Leader’s Academy and was amazed at how positive and upbeat everyone was. Virtually without exception everyone’s business was doing (comparatively) well. Every leader was making the most of the situation including one business, in the catering industry, who has no customers but who is utilising the time to build team cohesion, develop the staff, develop and refine the menu and hone the processes. It is inspirational to see.

Peter Drucker, perhaps the greatest business thinker of all time observed “The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.” I am seeing that evidenced in real life. It makes me proud to be associated with such people.

Different Results

Another client observed that he is looking at the current situation as ‘one huge experiment’. He is forced to face situations he has never faced before and as a consequence he has found things he might never have done, like processes that don’t work, processes that have never been written down, people doing the same job in several different ways and getting different results. He has found that with 50% of his staff in one section furloughed he is producing just as much as he was doing 2 months ago with 100% of his team. There are no ‘HR problems’ suddenly.

Experiment Findings

Another client, when needing to social distance in his factory decided to introduce split shifts. He has found out how to run a manufacturing plant 16 hours a day. This means that he has potentially doubled his capacity without doubling his capital investment. He might never have done that without this ‘experiment’.

Personally, I have found out which suppliers and partners I can rely on and which I can’t. So, this is my Thursday’s thought for you. What are you learning in this huge experiment? And probably more important; what are you going to do with what you have learned?

A Changed World

We will get through this and the best will come out stronger, faster, leaner and fitter. That all depends on not only what they learn but also on what they choose to do with what they learn. I cannot forecast what the world will look like post Covid 19 but I guarantee it will have changed. Remember those words of Charles Darwin “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”