Innovative Leadership During The Crisis

Apr 13, 2020 | Leadership, Strategy

Some of you are working at full capacity, while others are in lockdown, and others are somewhere in-between.

It’s a real patchwork across North America.

For those of you impacted by the crisis, now is a time for innovation.

Shakespeare remained productive and creative.

Shakespeare worked through the plague and as a history lesson we took that for granted. But now that I am experiencing my own pandemic, I look at Shakespeare’s focus and productivity with deep respect.

It is said he wrote the play, King Lear while in self-isolation.

In fact, many of his plays were written and performed in a plague-filled environment. The theater’s were shut down (social distancing) on and off throughout his life.

He was a true go-getter who took advantage of his lockdown and got creative. How about you?

Delaware Valley Turf, PA

Last week I spoke to my client Matt McGuire, owner of Delaware Valley Turf in PA.

He is up 22.5% over last year. It’s because he is challenging his status quo on how he sells and goes to market. He shifted his education process to the back end of his sales process. Now he closes the client first and educates them later.

Simple changes can have a big impact.

Gardens of Babylon, Nashville, TN

Marcus and Matt Kerske are the owners (second generation) of the landscape and garden center, Gardens of Babylon, in downtown Nashville.

Some second generation owners lack the original vision and spirit of the founder; and others, like Marcus and Matt, bring profound new energy and vision to the business. I have enjoyed mentoring these fine gentlemen as members of my Leader’s Edge peer group.

Their company overall has grown like a weed, and then a tornado hit!

They emailed me last week that their garden center had been closed since the week of the awful tornado that struck Nashville, and they are in the middle of their normally biggest 2 months of the year. They limped along with phone orders for the last 3 weeks and saw revenue drop by a whopping 85%.

Then they pivoted!

Their retail team rallied and built their online store in a matter of a couple of weeks!! And their online sales are now equal to their daily store sales, with the potential to go much larger!!

As Matt told me, “We haven’t started really promoting yet as the team is getting the bugs worked out.” But when they do, watch out!

Here’s the store:

How are you pivoting?

Ford Motor Corp.

Ford has been lumbering and very slow to catch up to Elon Musk and Telsa. But thankfully they have been very fast when it came to converting their production facilities to manufacture masks.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “Over two-and-a-half weeks, Ford has produced 2.4 million protective face shields for medical personnel. It figured out how to find the raw material, manufacture and distribute them over a weekend in mid-March.

Where was this Ford over the past 15 years as Elon Musk struggled and succeeded in building an electric car that dominates that market? Ford’s electric Mach-E, designed as a Tesla rival, is sexy, but about a decade late!

This spirit of innovation is needed in our blue chip North American companies, many of which have been asleep at the wheel. However, the true backbone of our economy is the small business owner.

We can lead the charge by embodying that spirit!

How nimble is your lawn, landscape, tree or irrigation company?

Your Challenge: Decide which type of entrepreneur you will become through this crisis.

1. Innovative: The risk taking, fast acting entrepreneurial company that uses this crisis to motivate big innovations. Pivoting to growth.

2. Conservative: The risk averse, slow moving companies that watch others innovate and build new markets. Protecting what you have, but watching it shrink.

3. Traumatized: The shocked company, paralyzed by fear, giving up thinking you have already lost.

Use this opportunity to be part of the solution needed on our country, build confidence in your company and community.

Be the hopeful news you want to read in the papers. Be the alternative ‘radio station’ for all your employees, giving them a stream of good news, hope, facts and goals that they can latch onto.

You can do this!

Email or call me if you need help.