Keep Your Eye on the Ball

And remember it’s going to bounce!

Many have suggested we’re heading into a recession, although many of us may feel like we’re already in one. At the very least we’re in for a sustained period of economic uncertainty while we continue to sift through the pandemic, manage back to school and work and how that will ultimately shake out in a second wave, and trying to keep our sanity.

With all of this going on, it’s pretty hard to keep our eye on the ball. Those goals and objectives we set for ourselves before everything was turned upside down seem like a distant memory and, in many cases, they’ve shifted quite significantly. It also isn’t any one thing we’re dealing with…

As Kevin Costner said in the movie Bull Durham: “We’re dealing with a lot of shit here.”

With so much beyond our control, what we can actually control becomes really important. Those tangible activities that make us feel that we’re able to influence the outcome in some way can be the difference between feeling useful or feeling useless.

Four adults in non-surgical masks having a standing meeting in a modern office.

Leaning into this mess can be overwhelming, but we have a job to do and we need to find order in chaos and build a forward-looking plan of action in spite of too many unknowns, not enough budget, stressed out team members, and customers that come and go with greater frequency.

For many brands, the number one goal is figuring out what to do now to recover and get back on two feet (or at least on one foot) so that we can keep our businesses running and maybe moving forward. Perhaps that means the same direction as before March 2020, but maybe a different one based on what was learned from the experience.

Some have moved past the recovery stage and are actively preparing for what the business needs to do next in order to initiate or continue forward momentum. And a few are looking as far forward to start articulating and planning for what they need to do later.

Establishing a quick hierarchy for prioritizing next best actions is important, and a simple Do Now, Do Next and Do Later is sometimes all that’s needed to keep your eye on the ball and to pivot when it bounces.

This agile-like approach allows us to think about planning and what we have to do in smaller, more manageable bite-sized chunks. So that we keep activities focused on what moves us forward, gives us room to make adjustments and pivots as we need to when things change again (because they will).

The key is to create stability in uncertainty, to plan in smaller windows of time and to ensure that our expectations – and those we set with our leadership – are manageable and account for the possibility of having to make changes.

Article by Dave Cliche, President & CEO at TMD