To say things looked pretty bleak a year ago is an understatement. We were in the midst of a global pandemic we didn’t fully understand, and all we knew early on was COVID-19 was a killer.
Modern-day conveniences like toilet paper and Clorox wipes were suddenly missing from store shelves. We began working from home and familiarizing ourselves with Zoom accounts and recipes for homemade sanitizers.
The world shut down and suddenly we weren’t certain that snow and ice management – or for many of you, landscaping and lawncare – would be an “essential” service. It’s now a full year later and the light at the end of the tunnel seems to be getting bigger and brighter with each new day.
What’s amazing about the past year is how we rolled with the punches, adapted to inconveniences, and made sacrifices so we could all push through the obstacles at jobsites and even at home. Resilience was more than a flashy business term; it became the mode for survival.
With that said, I don’t want to rain on your parade, but bad things will happen again. Maybe what the future holds won’t be as bad as COVID, but maybe it’ll be worse. But if there’s a business lesson coming out of the last year it’s this: Are you ready for the next crisis?
Now, don’t start hoarding rolls of Charmin. Instead, some fundamental lessons emerged from the last year that will prepare us for whatever event is waiting on the horizon.
Understand Your Workforce Dynamic. With people working from home or requiring creative scheduling during the pandemic, a crisis propels workforce management to the forefront of necessary skills leaders needed to exercise. The lesson: Train and keep training your people so they know not only their roles, but the roles of those individuals above them and directly below them. Then, when the time comes, trust they will execute and complete what’s expected.
Recognize Opportunities. Don’t feel bad if you spotted a silver lining among the storm clouds. How many of you began offering disinfecting services to your clients to help stem the tide of the pandemic and to keep workplace environments safe? The lesson: A crisis will generate problems, but it will also breed opportunity if you remain open to identifying the possibilities.
Tighten Your Supply Chain. If you were dealing with business obstacles then everyone in your circle were looking for their own solutions, too. The lesson: Everyone needs to be on the same page. Hold your suppliers and vendors to the same standards you hold for yourself, or that your clients are expecting of you during times of crisis.
Now, we may not experience another pandemic for 100 years, but the next crisis could be a catastrophic rock salt issue, an economic downturn or even a string of very unseasonably warm winter. The point is to prepare your business today to survive whatever tomorrow brings.