It's OK to experiment - my biggest lockdown learning!

Updated: Feb 5, 2021

It's a popular misconception in business that you need to have a plan (agreed) and once you have that plan you must stick to it come what may. Wouldn't it be great if the business, and customers, were so predictable that this could be the case? You could start your business, write a 5 or even 10-year plan and know, just know, that if you continued to follow the steps in that plan that your business would be a success.

Obviously, we all know that this is not the case, however, there are still business owners doggedly trying to stick to plans made years ago, business owners who believe deviating from those outdated plans is a sign of failure. Why?

One possible answer is pride. They don't want to be seen as weak by those around them. I have worked with many business owners who feel it would damage their reputation with their staff if they are seen to be changing the company plans.

Another possible answer could be fear. They are afraid to try something new in case it doesn't work. OK. I can understand that. Leaps of faith can be scary, especially if your choices affect a workforce or supply chain.

Possible answer number 3 - they don't know-how. It is often as simple as that. Without all the correct skills, they can't change at the same pace as the world around them.

So consider this, if you are unwilling to change and adapt your plan, can you really stay up to date with the changing world? If you can't stay up to date, can you remain competitive? If you can't remain competitive, does your business have a future?

“Innovation is the specific tool of entrepreneurs, the means by which they exploit change as an opportunity for a different business or a different service.”

— Peter F. Drucker

2020 was a year none of us could have planned for, a year that left all our business plans on a shelf whilst we wondered how we could change, innovate, experiment. It was a year that those of us who had previously resisted deviating from our business plans were forced to think differently, to feel differently and to act differently. The pandemic has highlighted business owners who were happy to change the direction of their business in order to survive, think about the huge number of companies who switch to manufacturing PPE. These more agile companies provided a valuable example to the less agile businesses, giving many of them the confidence to try things they had never done before.

This is the lockdown learning I want to share. I am a great believer in making plans, it's the major USP of Justelle after all! But during 2020 I learnt a new skill - how to pivot - how to experiment - and most importantly that it is more important to try than it is to succeed. Well to a point anyway!

So what is next? I will continue to experiment and pivot and part of that process is in developing support for other businesses and helping them to adapt as our world continues to change. Lead by example and share this learning with others.

If you'd like to talk to me about your fears, or your plans, maybe you need a sounding board or someone to challenge your thinking, call or email me and let's make 2021 and 2022 amazing!

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