Did you ever hear the old adage, when one door closes, another one opens?

I’ve thought about that a lot over the last couple of years, as our world has been confronted with a seemingly endless number of doors slamming shut.  Dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in one obstruction after another placed in our path, as we work diligently to mitigate its impact on our lives.

Shutdowns became a reality. Facemasks became regular personal accessories, and group gatherings, for a while at least, became a thing of the past. 

And somehow, we tried to keep doing business as usual and find workarounds that would enable us to continue to generate revenue and send our workforce home with a paycheck.

Not every business survived. But the majority did.

And I’d like to think that—to paraphrase—what doesn’t put you out of business makes you stronger.

But does it?

Back in the 2010s, the buzzword was “disruption.” Think differently, don’t be afraid to upset the apple cart, tear down and rebuild, stronger, better.  

And then the 2020s arrived, and, boy, be careful what you wish for—disruption became a way of life.

So how did your business handle the disruption? What lessons can you take from the first two years of this truly bizarre decade?

Well, think about those workarounds. All of sudden, your workforce was trapped at home. You had to find ways to get work done remotely. It caused all kinds of headaches…..BUT….didn’t it also have some positives?

Savings on overhead, travel, business meetings, and heck, even donuts. You may or may not want to continue dealing with your work teams remotely, but there may be some circumstances in which it is a definite improvement, and one you might never have considered, had it not been for….well, you know.

As a result, all of a sudden, meetings got harder. Not everybody mastered the art of Zoom, and there are enough “Virtual Meeting Fails” to keep YouTube full for the next century. (Remember the “Cat Lawyer?”)

But….maybe you ended up having FEWER meetings as a result. And maybe you were forced to take a critical look at your meeting carousel, and prioritize the ones that really moved the business forward….and put some of the others on a side burner. Maybe they should go away permanently?

And now that many folks have come back, you’ve had to remodel and maybe even renovate your offices, to allow for appropriate distancing and enhanced cleanliness. The pandemic forced the issue, but wasn’t it also a good opportunity for improvement? A more efficient design? Not to mention a healthier work environment?

Changes that were probably long overdue….they just needed a catalyst. And boy, did they get one.

Think about ALL of the situations you faced and responded to over the last two years, and the ones you’re still working through. And as you begin to craft your strategic plan for 2022—which should be underway NOW—factor them in.

The world has changed, and so has your business. More than anything, these changes need to be baked into your planning efforts. Don’t get caught pretending that 2020 and 2021 never happened and that you can just slap a fresh coat of paint on your 2019 plan. You can’t.  

Be strategic, and take the best of what you’ve learned and use it to move forward.

And let me hear your ideas—share your new best practices from the pandemic era on our social media platforms. Innovation yields a bountiful harvest when it’s shared.

Because we ALL deserve to….GROW BIG OR GO HOME!