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Being Proactive

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Nothing could have prepared me for this year’s business challenges. Most of my revenue is earned by conducting educational seminars.  The COVID19 eruption resulted in seminar cancellations and I thought this was the end of my consultancy.  

I was wrong. How? Keep reading. 

Supply and demand is contingent on economic factors such as sellersbuyers, price point, availability and market size.  External influence on one or more of the aforementioned factors results in a disruption.  If demand for an affordable product increases exponentially, this puts a burden on supply due to increased market size.   But what if the supply is unlimited? 

About six years ago, my company partnered with HVAC manufacturers for an online education initiative. This initiative made sense because it enabled contractors to take high-quality virtual customer service courses, earn NATE CEUs and maintain their factory authorization status. And while this initiative started slowly, it picked up momentum with more HVAC manufacturers and additional online course distributors.  Fast forward to earlier this year and you can imagine the perfect storm.   

When COVID19 hit, my company’s online course activity increased exponentially resulting in a big revenue boost.  High-quality and affordable education is always in demand and limitless supply attracts more customers with greater efficiency. 

The above anecdote can be summed up in two words: Being proactive. 

Consider your company’s next five or ten years and ask yourself, “What is the one thing we can start doing now that will deliver a future benefit?”  Naturally, it is probably more than one thing, but you get the idea.  Proactive initiatives that deliver ROI usually have their origins in future thinking from years ago. 

Among my clients, the companies who weathered the COVID19 storm did so because of four practices.  These include   

  1. Embracing change 
  2. Inculcating a continual improvement process 
  3. Consistent, honest & high-quality meetings to ensure all employees are on the same page 
  4. Ongoing education 

The absence of any of the above practices would greatly hinder a recovery from a crisis such as COVID19.  In addition, these four practices were beneficial because they started years ago.  Perhaps the practices did not begin effectively, but with consistent and continual improvement, a culture of excellence can permeate a company.

Implementing new service maintenance and replacement procedures, to ensure customer health and safety amidst COVID19, is easier to do when your company already embraces change and believes in continual improvement. Employees who believe in and trust management do so because of past experience. There is a cause and effect relationship between a manager’s preparation (the cause) and whether employees get on board (the effect). 

Company culture is the result of leadership.  Employees tend to follow a leader’s demeanor and when managers are ill-prepared for employee meetings, then the company’s culture may suffer.  Consider your own company and the amount of time invested in a five-year plan.   

A strategic plan assumes best-case scenarios in terms of leadership, employee morale and effectiveness.  These three attributes impact company culture either upward or downward and ineffective employee meetings hurt culture. 

Peter Drucker, the famed management guru, is quoted to have said: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”  Drucker’s message implies that the best strategic plan will fail if company culture goes south.  Being a servant leader is one sure way to boost company morale – serve your employees well so that employees will do likewise for your customers. 

The time we invest now, in being proactive and improving our company culture, may enable your company to survive future catastrophes.   

As we adjust to a post-COVID19 world, it is vital to keep a sharp eye on the rudiments that matter. 


Steve Coscia, CSP

Posted In: ACCA Now, Money

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