Having seen a few incidents in the world, this one will definitely be remembered. The tears of sadness, separation, anxiety, sickness, and bad economics are all spinning in circles around us personally and professionally. What comes next are the changes.
They say in Washington DC to ‘never waste a crisis’. I believe it’s an unspoken reality for many throughout the world that many organizations will see massive change. Not a need for efficiency or adaptation but wholesale change – driven by us, the buyers. I have experienced a few times in my career what a massive upheaval looks like but no one has seen this.
Here is what I believe comes next:
Adapt to what customers are instantly going to need. The old ways are not going to work fast enough or understand what people’s needs are fast enough. The old way of measuring and predicting will not work well enough. You’re not going go by search terms you’re not going to post things on social media including this and it’s not going to do much of anything.
(Some) leadership will become very adaptive. Because that’s who they are as people. An event like this will force leadership to truly become adaptive or not. It’s ‘chutes and ladders’ time.
Organizational adaptability, manifested through leadership becomes a critical component of adaptability in general. If the people in the warehouse don’t understand the change, it not going to work. It could be something culturally is stopping leadership. It’s possible that this part can be coached through with enough dedication. More likely, there’s either a fast or dragged out demise to the organizations that don’t change.
The old ways of building product change. Whom are we listening to? How fast do we take in new predictive data and what forms of insight tells us what products our future customers will demand in a changing environment? You likely don’t have any data here. If you do you’re one of the few.
The old ways of marketing change. I’m old enough to remember TV media buys, direct mail, catalogs, search terms, list trades, email, social media. None of these things will drive your brand in an upheaval. The tools are not what will drive success. You need to take advantage of media and double down on a deep understanding of ‘why people buy’. It’s not going be media metrics it’s going to be people metrics. What are people metrics? Why we decide what deep down convinced us to buy a product. What aligned that product to solving our unmet needs.
Disruptive innovation, the kind that Clayton Christensen spoke so much about will find a place in the right organization. Efficiency innovation and sustaining innovation may help but they’re not going to be the answer. Of course, the old expression “Strategy is not in the fox hole” will haunt us. If you’re going down the road of disruption it better go fast.
There will be a set of new winners, likely 3 to 5 years. New names will show up and move from challenger brands using new technologies.
Some organizations in adjacent markets will attack week, stodgy old ways of doing business.
It’s efficiency and it’s also hyperfocus on customers.
We won’t be selling as much as solving what our customers need.
We are going to fast track Product-Market Fit. Not that old legacy way.
And it’s underway at a restart, startup, or bold new leader now.