By Craig Rock, President & CEO
As leaders, we are directly responsible for the direction of our company, the success of our employees, the value we deliver to clients and more. We’re expected to bring our business on a journey, taking various turns that significantly impact our outcome and ability to ultimately ascend the mountain of success. It’s long and arduous, but it’s well worth the effort.
However, what happens when, along that road, we encounter a splitting ravine that plunges hundreds of feet down? It means we’ve been hit, disrupted by the heavy impact of circumstantial factors in which sometimes merely being in the right place is rewarded and merely being in the wrong place is punished.
This is the reality of the pandemic economy. While many companies aren’t able to recover from being the target of disruption, I believe it sparks the opportunity for leaders to muster their courage, strength and capabilities more than anything else. Change is a constant necessity of our world and of our business. That change once again allows us to direct the company back toward growth and success.
In the history of Paradigm, every time we’ve been faced with significant disappointment or disruption in business, I’ve partnered with our leadership team to turn it toward our advantage, leveraging it to build a stronger organization. As a Chinese proverb tells: “When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.” Standing still has never been an option for me. We looked at the negative impact and turned it into an effective building tool, thought outside of the box and asked ourselves how we can turn the situation to our advantage.
As leaders, it’s our job to take bad news — disappointment, change, disruption — and determine how to make it worthwhile for the company. Fear is a phenomenal motivator. It is our responsibility to harness that fear and rally to build back and build better — not just for ourselves but for our employees, clients and everyone in between.
We need to get rid of diversions, strip away distractions and invest our energy and resources in the things that are going to make us the most successful. We must have the courage and conviction to focus on a handful of priorities:
- Flatter, faster and more flexible structures are succeeding.
- Customer engagement is a priority.
- Essential differentiators and repetitive execution are critical.
Taking a cue from the points above, in this time of change and disruption, we must focus on and stress customer relationships and experiences, identifying our vanilla or flywheel, zeroing in on what we are good at and rallying our organization around it to help drive quality. To determine such requires differentiating our services with compelling value to our customers and taking actions to make our services “stick.”
Change is unavoidable — sometimes, you can see it coming; other times, you can’t. No matter how hard you plan, adverse change is a challenge that leaders must face head-on. We must ask ourselves what Paradigm stands for and what we want to achieve. We are here for a purpose, and our focus is not to just make money but to deliver value. Simply giving customers what they say they want is not enough. Our goal should be to delight customers at every interaction by treating them better than they expect, recognizing that the customer’s impression of our organization is only as good as their last experience. To this point, we cannot be reactive; rather, we must be more flexible, dynamic and proactive through our engagement.
Don’t leave the road. March around the ravine and ascend the mountain of success!