We really don’t know what kind of problems, opportunities, and challenges are going to show up tomorrow.

But rather than waiting to react to what might happen, we can take steps to shape the future we want and position ourselves and our organizations to thrive regardless of what might come.

I’m not sure anyone clearly foresaw the magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic, and yet many businesses were able to pivot and thrive.  Or maybe thrive without having to pivot. 

By now, everyone listening and watching has heard of or used Zoom.  I first downloaded Zoom in 2015 when the team I was working with in Arizona decided to try it to help us all stay on the same sheet of music in dealing with 9 different agencies.  It always worked well for us.  Last October, because I liked it so much, I decided to buy 20 shares of stock.

That was just lucky, but Zoom had a vision that they were forced to accelerate in response to the Pandemic.  The huge surge in use exposed problems they were unable to see or anticipate with fewer users.  They were, however, able to diagnose, analyze, and solve many of those problems very quickly.

I also noticed a trend last year toward ghost kitchens – restaurants created only for delivery.  Now every restaurant uses this mindset.  One of the best restaurant pivots away from the dining room and to the drive through is Chick-fil-A.  They have always been a popular drive through, but when the pandemic hit, they doubled down. 

There always seem to be two lines of cars wrapped around every Chick-fil-A, a site that would send me scurrying away in other restaurant chains.  But Chick-fil-A gets everyone through so expertly, but that’s not by accident.  They put a dozen crewmembers outside to direct traffic, to take orders, to take payments, and to deliver food. 

The only other restaurant I have seen with this kind of response is In-n-Out. 

Other restaurants seem content to have longer lines and to have customers decide not to wait.

I think the true secret for solving tomorrow’s problems isn’t in anticipating any specific problem, but to prepare the organization and the workforce for anything.  If we can sense a problem coming; if we can see when it actually begins to impact us; and if we have people who know how to think critically and face the hard facts about what they see then we’ll be able to respond nearly immediately. 

We may not get it right the first few times, but with a culture that is willing to try anything and persist, we’re more likely to get to an effective solution much more quickly that those who are more protective of the status quo.

A culture like that is characterized by high self-efficacy among its people.  High self-efficacy translates to willingness to try new things and persistence through failure.  Solving tomorrow’s problems depend on this, so we need to start building that today.  I can show you how. 

Have a great day and I’ll see you tomorrow.