Pivot Faster: 3 Tips for Leaders

person holding compass facing towards green pine trees

A pivot is a change in strategy without a change in vision.

In recent weeks, there have been many examples and stories of companies pivoting their business model or product to survive the impact of COVID-19. For some, these events served as a catalyst for changes that were already on the horizon. More businesses may be opting to pivot as the situation evolves. The more rapidly you can pivot going forward, the more effectively you’ll stay in the game – a game for which the playbook has changed along with shifts in way the world does business.

Some leaders resist pivoting, waiting and hoping instead for a magical day when circumstances are again like those of February 2020. But, like shifts in the tectonic plates of the earth – which never return to their previous positions – the world and its business landscape have made a permanent shift, and so must we. The leaders who will be most successful are those who embrace the opportunity to pivot and lean into it with velocity.

  1. Change Your Mind

“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw

The first element of pivoting is being able to change your mind, incorporating into your thinking the concept of the new reality – accepting it as it truly is, rather than what you want it to be.

What is resistance to pivoting costing you? What is it costing your company?

When our world is shaken, we are sometimes forced to open ourselves to new ideas and fresh thinking, resulting in Post-Traumatic Stress Growth (PTSG) – the creation of new neural pathways in the brain and consequent rapid changes in behavior. The concept, which relates to the study of neuroscience and brain function, asserts that we may be most open to new ideas and ways of thinking while going through, or just having come through, a stressful time. Without a catalyst, the change process takes much longer.

Our scientifically-proven Power PathwaysTM approach, paired with a coach with expertise in neurolinguistics, is designed to quickly forge new neural pathways – a response much like that of PTSG. With the support of a coach, new thinking patterns and behaviors are sustained, resulting in long-term benefits to your leaders, your company culture and your bottom line.

  1. Get Help with Your Perspective

“Your perspective will either become your prison or your passport.” – Steven Furtick

The second element of pivoting is a shift in perspective. How you look at things can change attitude, opportunities, actions, outcomes and meaning. An illustration of this principle is that of the company Under Armor. Before the pandemic, Under Armor was a sports clothing manufacturer and retailer. Changing the way they looked at the situation opened their minds to opportunities to keep people safe by making masks, which both shifted the focus and purpose of their business as well as resulting in positive public perceptions of the company.

What could change with a shift in your perspective as a leader?

Many leaders express having felt downtrodden, depleted and derailed, often pointing to a feverish work pace and lack of time off during the last three months. Although that may be a contributor, the bigger issue is likely that you need a change in perspective – which can transform the opportunities you see, the focus of your business, the passion you feel, and the meaning you find in your work. A shift in perspective can reignite the internal motivation that may have waned during these stressful times, especially as we have been distanced from those with whom we typically share our world.

We all need support from others to maintain and shift perspective, especially when perspective must change rapidly. Imagine what you might discover and achieve if you include your entire team in this process, individually and collectively. How much farther might your team go if you engage a coach or coaches to rapidly facilitate this process with each team member? What results could you achieve? A team rowing together is always more powerful than one team member rowing alone.

  1. Return to Your Core Values

“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your core values are.” – Roy Disney

The third element of pivoting is to ensure that you are aligned with your core values. They drive daily thoughts and actions and are at the heart of why you do the work you do. In stressful times, work and thinking can shift out of alignment with your core values. Forcing yourself to work without the spark of passion that is an extension of your core values can quickly become exhausting. Keep in mind that pivoting is a change in strategy, not vision. Revisit your vision and how your core values align with it. Envision how you can pivot your company’s strategy and activities, in response to the changes in our lives and business climate, while staying connected to those vital foundations of your work.

To start the process, consider these questions and discuss them with your team:

  • What would a successful pivot for our company look like?
  • What will define success for us in Q3?
  • How do we need to change our thinking to achieve new results?

Contact me to discuss how our Power PathwaysTM program – founded in the neuroscience of how your brain best works for you— will help you and your team achieve rapid change and pivot successfully in these ever-changing times.