Over the past two months, I’ve been on information-overload. I receive ~10-15 messages daily from vendors and business partners with resources to help us deal with COVID-19 uncertainty. Early on, I read each one but soon began to either quickly scan or just delete them. There’s too much information and many messages are repetitive.
So when a friend suggested a Simon Sinek video, I rolled my eyes and muttered “no way!” to myself. I ended up watching this six-minute message Sinek gave his staff and thought it was worth sharing. He says these are not unprecedented times from a business perspective. While the suddenness of the current change is unique, Sinek describes major business changes over many years and how various companies did or did not respond.
His primary takeaway is that the old way will not come back and that businesses that reinvent themselves for the new reality will have new opportunities. Those who expect that they can run their business as they did previously “once things return to normal” might be in big trouble. The example of taxi companies who would (or could) not change their business models in the face of ride-sharing companies coming to market resonated with me. Had these companies reinvented themselves into something different as Uber and Lyft came along, perhaps they would be in a stronger position today.
I’m not certain if Sinek is right but I do expect business will be different moving forward. How will we do what we were doing in a different world? Are we in survival mode or are we going to change to get through this? There is huge opportunity in considering “what will we be?” on the other side of COVID-19 rather than “how do we preserve what we had?”
For Howard Tech, we are starting to see changes in how our customers are moving forward. One company intends to shutdown its main office and the headquarters staff will work 100% remotely. Some clients are scaling back operations, while others are expanding. Many have accelerated plans to move systems to the cloud. There is much change to come and we are committed to responding and serving you as well as we can.
HTA is changing also. One of our immediate adjustments was to add training classes. Over the years, I’ve wanted to deliver an education component, sharing best practices and our learnings with you. This directly aligns with our mission of building community. COVID-19 simply pushed us to move faster and we plan to add in-person classes after our office reopens.
Moving forward, we are re-imagining work from home ideas that we’d previously not considered. We may stagger shifts or modify our on-call support procedures or change some of our product and service offerings. No matter how the market returns, we are trying to think differently and reconsider all we do. This is also true at the individual level. We are encouraging team members to reinvent themselves – asking each person to consider their role with HTA, how they can contribute differently, and how they can better interact as a member of a team.
I expect it will be fun and difficult to reinvent Howard Tech. I enjoy coming up with new ideas and seeing if they can work. But it’s hard to implement change, individually and as an organization. If Sinek is right, however, maintaining what we had is not an option. Change has come, the business world will not be what it was in February 2020, and we can either change ourselves or our business might be adversely affected. Howard Tech will not be the taxi company or video rental store or travel agent insisting that the old way will continue to work in a new world.
I am excited to to reinvent Howard Tech. Our mission has not changed. Our commitment to serve with excellence has not changed. Our passion has not changed. The world has changed though, and we are excited to navigate new paths into a better Howard Tech moving forward.