It is a truism that change is the natural order of thing and how we react to that change will determine how from a business and personal perspective we survive.

Another truism, that I live my life by, is that the only thing we have control over is our attitude to any given situation.

Covid has, to use a baseball analogy, thrown us a curve ball and we have no alternative but to accept that it will change our lives and the way that we communicate with each other substantially.

Video conferencing and remote communication will be the primary means of connecting with colleagues and informing clients and customers of our proposition, products, and services.

In essence we will all have to become Broadcasters, creating videos, podcasts, and using social platforms to reach out the wider world to convey our ideas.  

Once the realm of major corporations it is now open to us all and no longer are, we restricted to our own ‘back yard’. The world from a business perspective is our proverbial oyster.

We are no longer bound by the tyranny of the email or location.

My time working with QVC The Shopping Channel, selling £millions of products for major brands and teaching others how to do the same informs my methodology in coaching clients in their ‘sales’ activities on Zoom and the myriad of other online platforms.

I started my business career in adverting working for a mafia owned American advertising agency where my love of words was formed.

Then as an equity partner of an Estate Agency I trained negotiators to understand that the key to winning business is to find their clients/customers real needs.

In a business context this means personal as well as commercial needs. The key is not to sell, because we hate being sold to, but to influence and persuade.

In my life I have experienced many curve balls the most significant was the death of my father when I was just 10 and he was 45.

This tragic event has shaped the person I am and in the following paragraphs I hope to share some further insights. I will offer suggestions to enable you to deal with any emotional fallout you may be experiencing in the current situation. In addition I hope it will enable you offer help to your colleagues, clients or partners.

I also want to suggest ideas on how to navigate this new way of doing business in these surreal and uncertain time.

Firstly, the emotional aspect. The impact that the Covid -19 pandemic has had on the lives of the people of the world is inexorably intertwined with my life story and the loss of my father.

Apart from the financial implications and the impact on the global economy and the resulting loss of jobs, the greatest tragedy that has affected us as a world community is the loss of life which, at the time of writing, is nearing half a million souls

If that number is not tragic enough for me, and here is the link to my own life experience, it is the fact that for so many they were not there at their loved ones side when they passed, to hold their hands and tell them they are loved.

This great burden fell to the doctors and nurses who acted as our surrogate family.

Similarly, I was not there when my father passed. At that time children were not allowed into hospital wards and to my lifelong regret I, as with so many others in this Covid age was not there to say goodbye.

Long after the pandemic has released its grip on our lives, and we are vaccinated against its dire consequences the effect of these traumatic experiences will still be felt.

We are told that grief has 7 phases, the first three of which are Anger – Disbelief and Guilt or Regret.

In my book A Voyage Without My Father I explore the processes and therapies that helped me move forward from these debilitating energies. To encapsulate them here I have created an acronym:

M.I.C – Meditation – Imagination – Communication.

Meditation When we take ourselves to a deeper, healthier level of mind we still some of the negative energies that may prevent us from being creative.

Imagination – At this deeper healthier level of mind creative thoughts and solutions occur to us that may well lead to a new perspective or direction.

Communication – In this imaginative state we can converse with those that have passed and whose opinions and wisdom we value.

Now to the business aspect. Pivoting has become a buzzword referring to a significant business change, ranging from mild to dramatic. This word usually is intended to convey that a business is recovering from a tough period or surviving after experiencing new competition or other factors that makes the original business model unsustainable.

In this age of Covid PIVOTING for me has taken on a deeper more relevant meaning. It is not just about the business model being no longer sustainable it is, as I have said before, more about our attitude to what has happened.

It has had me reflecting on what is necessary to pivot a business or repurpose, another Covid age word. What skills sets do we need to bring to this new environment, what is it that the market demands of us and who can we collaborate with to ensure our survival.

As already shown, I love the use of acronyms to convey an idea and here I have illustrated what I believe are the key elements to ensure successful PIVOTING.

POSITIVE INTENTION – A can-do attitude is essential to drive us and our team forward.

INNOVATION – Lateral thinking, fresh ideas, and new processes to approach the new reality. 

VISION – A clear plan and compelling view of the road ahead and an exit strategy.

OPPORTUNITIES – To seek out and understand what our markets needs are and who can help us achieve them.

TALENTS – To recognize our skill sets, to learn new skills and collaborate with others who have those skills.

IMPLEMENTATION – No plan can work without the drive and motivation to carry it through.

NUMBERS – What commercial value does the idea have, What does it offer to others and us. What is the realistic cost to bring the idea, concept or project to fruition?

GRIT – Every plan takes determination to see it through to the end regardless of push backs.

By now you have come to realise that I have a very positive vision for the future both beyond Covid and now.

Technology will evolve so that our way of communication both personally and from a business standpoint will become more sophisticated. Virtual reality and Augmented reality are already advancing in ways that previously would only seem possible in science fiction programmes such as Star Trek.

The rush to produce vaccines to combat Covid will ultimately see off the current pandemic and we will return to some normality but personally I feel that pandoras box is now open and other viruses await us.

By then we will know how to protect ourselves from these situations.

Finally, I would like to emphasis the concept of COLLABORATION.

Born out of my experience of losing my father when I was young one of the negative aspects that pervaded my life was a mistrust of other people. Men especially. My dad had left me so how could I trust others.

It took me a long time to realise both from a personal and business aspect that people come into our lives for a reason.

To quote Flavia Weedn Author:

“Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same”

I am so grateful to my mentors, friends, and teachers who have given me so much.

Learn from my mistakes and accept and recognize the value of these interactions.

Here’s an example:

When I started in advertising my mentor was Norman Bond. He had head hunted me from another agency.  I was a rebellious teenager, and he took me aside on one occasion and said. “Dexter you have two choices, carry on as you are now and go down this destructive path or pull yourself together, be responsible and find your passion and purpose”.

I took his advice, and my passion is helping others find their passion and purpose.

In this present situation my transformation and greatest learning has been to recognise that even in the most challenging situations opportunities will present themselves when you least expect them.

Don’t be too judgmental, first accept the possibility and then do your research.

As I said right at the beginning of this conversation, in this ever-changing world the only thing we have control over is how we react to any given situation.

Choose well, keep safe and as Winston Churchill said, “When you’re going through hell, keep on going”.    

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