Built for adversity

by Jack Warren, editor and host of the Top Coach podcast

Nearly everyone was tested during the troublesome period that began in early in 2020 and extends, for many, to today. It was interesting to watch organizations navigate this period – some unsuccessful to the point of no return and some (quite surprisingly) successful to the point of actually flourishing. What was the difference?

Conventional wisdom seemed to indicate that there were some companies and organizations that were built in such a way as to navigate an environment that emphasized minimal contact. Chik-fil-A immediately comes to mind. The last two years have proven that they indeed had, to a great extent, figured it out.

On the other hand, there appeared to me to be no organizations with the assets and plans in place better equipped to succeed than McDonalds. The last 24 months, however, have demonstrated exactly the opposite for most McDonalds franchise holders. Anyone who’s visited a McDonalds during this time period have no doubt noted fewer customers than pre-2022 and (even more telling) far fewer employees.

One of the lessons here appears to be that although McDonalds had been heading in the direction of less employee contact (kiosks!), they had little idea of how to add value to the customer experience with this new “cyber” approach and had too many franchise holders – distant and disconnected – who didn’t know how to pivot when the time came. Compare that to Chik-fil-A, with their boots-on-the-ground franchise owners who get to see every day what works and what doesn’t.

So what does that mean for you? 2020-21 won’t be the last time you’ll be navigating rough waters with your organization. What did you learn? Did you have a “debrief” or “lessons learned” session with your players, coaches, staff, or administration, asking key questions like “what worked?”, “what didn’t work?”, “where did we drop the ball”, “what were the pain points?”, and “where were the bottlenecks?” What areas suffered most and what areas shined (e.g., organization, communication, production, etc.)?

If you haven’t done so already, plan a session with key members of your organization and talk about what you learned. This won’t the last time you’ll face adversity. Will you be better prepared next time?

Jack is available to speak to your team or organization or at your next function. He also provides individual and organizational coaching and consulting. You can get more information on these services at Jack’s professional services site, JackWWarren.com.

Photo by Shahbaz Ali on Unsplash

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