Change vs. Planning – How do I deal with both? 

I’m regularly hearing friends and clients say “what a crazy year it’s been” and “none of us saw this coming in January 2020”.

Yes and yes!  Each of our businesses and families has dealt with sudden and massive change. This is nothing I could have ever imagined pre-COVID.  Some businesses have survived better than others. I’ve even heard stories of businesses and individuals that are thriving this year.  I’m hopeful that the vaccines being developed are effective and can be distributed quickly enough to make 2021 much better for all of us.

This is the time of year where businesses are typically making plans for the coming new year and business cycle.  At Howard Tech, we are working on our budgets, employee training, customer service, new technologies, partnerships and much more in anticipation of delivering better than ever for our clients and team in 2021.  At the same time, I’m keenly aware of the constantly changing world and that we might be re-writing our plans many times between now and January.  I am trying to juggle between being intentional about what I want to happen, and the reality that outside forces can quickly adjust and impact our plans.

Are you planning for 2021 and preparing to adapt – all at the same time?  I believe how businesses (and individuals for that matter) adapt will determine their future path. Will they end up in the group that succeeds and takes advantage of new opportunities? Or will they resist change, stay stagnant and end up losing as a result?  Planning is vital now more than ever. One of my mentors recently encouraged me that LISTENING to my team, family, clients and business partners is now more important than ever.  He wrote “this is not the time to have a retreat with yourself and write a plan.  Or even to do it with a few people from your organization.  You need to involve as many as possible to get the broadest perspective you can. No one has faced this situation in their lifetime. So don’t fall into the trap of believing you’re the smartest person in the room and just go ahead with what seems best to you.”

Wow, what encouragement at just the right time for me!  I love getting input from others, but just as often I like to look at data, make a decision and get the team to implement.  “Let’s go, we don’t have any time to waste talking too much, there’s work to do!”  In reality, it seems that the best thing to do is to engage more people, not less, in the planning process. I’m hoping to engage people that will challenge me and repeatedly ask ‘why’. Those people have sometimes irritated me and slowed me down in the past, but I’m convinced more than ever that I need help.  There are so many experiences, ideas and wisdom that others have, and I want to take advantage of those valuable resources as we prepare for 2021.

The pandemic will be over in due time (quickly please) and there will be significant business opportunities in 2021 and beyond!  Are you getting input from others, exploring opportunities and making plans now?  I am convinced there is much we can do to serve our employees and clients better in the coming year. I am committed to developing a strong strategy and then executing the plan.  Can I, or someone at the Howard Tech, serve you as a sounding board?  This new year planning is different than anything I’ve done before. I would be pleased to contribute to your go-forward thinking. Whatever you do, I hope you’re excited for the new year and new opportunities ahead!