Seed World

Pivot Like a Pro

Evolving market dynamics can turn unexpected challenges into opportunities to adapt and thrive.

Is this scenario familiar? Following an annual off-site, several follow-up meetings, some difficult decisions and a large-scale rollout earlier in the year, the recent consumer outlook report has upended your approach to deliver the expected annual results. This new data will mean a shift in resource spending and reprioritization of the current year’s projects. For the longer term, it means that you won’t likely be incorporating the new capacities that were touted as the big growth area for the future. Your strategy for achieving success has changed.

Leadership best practices will always indicate that leaders must have clarity in their strategy.  A strategy points your team in the right direction; it helps prioritize resource allocation. A good strategy builds commitment to the hard work that is to come.  A strategy to achieve your vision helps garner resources, it helps bring peers on board; a clear strategy enhances productivity. 

Clear communication prevails

Once you communicate established strategies to the rest of the organization they are often taken as steadfast and unchanging, but strategies will need to change as marketplace demands or economics require. In reality, the longer the strategic outlook, the greater the likelihood the strategy will change. You, and maybe your team, have probably seen this potential change coming all along—or at least created a contingency plan. For you, it is a continuous evolution of the strategy.  For others, the changes in strategy are a highly disruptive evolution. As a leader it is important that you communicate that priorities have changed, and you must also explain the reasons—what were the evolutionary forces that led to the change in strategy. Also clearly explain what is different about the new approach to success compared to the previous one—what parts persisted, which parts were lost, what parts were modified, what was added? Continue by explaining how this change in strategy will impact the individual, if at all.   

Compare and contrast

No matter how small or large the change in strategy, you must communicate it in comparison to the previous strategy.  Either way, your team will realize that priorities have changed. Some will see this as ambiguity, a lack of decisiveness or being wishy-washy.  You can’t let this happen as these attitudes become a barrier to moving forward.   As a leader take the time to teach about how you are leading within the framework of strategic planning.

Be transparent

Let others into your world to see how you must simultaneously hold strong to strategic priorities. Let them see that as a leader, you are always testing those strategies in response to environmental forces that are larger than you. You must react to the forces of your leadership, to the pressure of peers, align to larger strategic initiatives and changes or deal with outside factors. Some of these are unpredictable. 

Not everyone accepts it, but evolution happens.   As a leader, you must help others accept this fact, explain the forces that affect the strategy and guide it as much as possible through changing times.

Listen, push and pivot

The scenario you’re facing might feel overwhelming, but it’s also a chance to innovate and grow. This unexpected shift in strategy can be a catalyst for creativity, pushing your team to think outside the box and find new ways to achieve success. Embrace this opportunity to explore uncharted territory, to question and challenge the status quo, and to discover solutions that you may have overlooked in a more stable environment. Encourage your team to view this change not as a setback, but as a chance to strengthen their adaptability and resilience. Together, you can turn this challenge into a triumph, proving that with the right mindset, every change is an opportunity in disguise.