Conversations with Gary: The Game has Changed!

What a crazy year 2020 has been so far and it is only half over! Honestly, I have struggled with what to write. My email inbox has been slammed with everyone’s view on COVID 19, EIDL, PPP, and loan forgiveness. Other recent events make this even more challenging. Some of my clients have been slammed with work while others struggle to survive. These events remind me of a few other times when “the game changed.”


1. The forward pass.

Most sources credit St. Louis University's Bradbury Robinson from Bellevue, Ohio, with throwing the first legal forward pass. On September 5, 1906, in a game against Carroll College, Robinson's first attempt at a forward pass fell incomplete and resulted in a turnover under the 1906 rules. In the same game, Robinson later completed a 20-yard touchdown pass to Jack Schneider. The 1906 St. Louis team, coached by Eddie Cochems, was undefeated at 11–0 and featured the most potent offense in the country, outscoring their opponents 407–11. Football authority and College Football Hall of Fame Coach David M. Nelson wrote that "E. B. Cochems is to forward passing what the Wright brothers are to aviation and Thomas Edison is to the electric light."


Football has never been the same.


2. Flight 

According to the Smithsonian Institution and Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI),  the Wright brothers made the first sustained, controlled, powered heavier-than-air manned flight at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, four miles (8 km) south of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on December 17, 1903.

The first flight by Orville Wright, of 120 feet (37 m) in 12 seconds, was recorded in a famous photograph. In the fourth flight of the same day, Wilbur Wright flew 852 feet (260 m) in 59 seconds. The flights were witnessed by three coastal lifesaving crewmen, a local businessman, and a boy from the village, making these the first public flights and the first well-documented ones.

Transportation has never been the same.


3. Light

In 1878, Edison formed the Edison Electric Light Company in New York City with several financiers, including J. P. Morgan, Spencer Trask, and the members of the Vanderbilt family. Edison made the first public demonstration of his incandescent light bulb on December 31, 1879, in Menlo Park. It was during this time that he said: "We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles."

 Light has never been the same.

Why do I list these historical events? Because each event changed the game. Football changed. Transportation changed. Light changed. So now, thanks to COVID 19, business has changed.

Now, more than ever, you need to rethink your business. If you continue to do business as usual, you will likely suffer. Stop. Step back. Rethink everything.

I sat down with one client recently to examine his business. He anticipated a 30% drop in revenue. Naturally, he was nervous about how this was going to affect the business that he struggled to build for many years. We exhaustively examined every expense item and challenged everything. Nothing was off limits.

By the time we finished, we had a plan to get him through the next 90 days. Hopefully, by then, his revenues will begin to return to normal.

The good news? He can and will survive. And when revenues return to their current levels, he will be leaner than ever. 

Working virtually from home used to be somewhat of a luxury that a few in the office did on occasion. It was a perk of sorts. Now, most of my days are spent on Zoom meetings. Working virtually is a mainstay now.  How does that affect your business and corporate culture? How will you hold people accountable for production? These are questions that come with the changes. And just like learning to master the forward pass, flight and electricity, they will have ripple effects.

Takeaway: Stop. Step back. Rethink everything.

  •  STOP - Set aside some time to get away from the noise of the day. This may take several hours so get out of the office. You may want to involve your management team.
  • STEP BACK - Stop thinking about the “busy-ness” of the day. Stop thinking about meetings, emails, texts, etc. Clear your mind of the daily noise and clutter.
  • RETHINK EVERYTHING. QUESTION EVERYTHING - Remember those etch a sketch toys when you were a kid? Consider doing that with your business.  Erase everything. Rebuild everything. Ask why do we do it this way or that way? Whenever someone answers with, “Well, that’s how we have always done it.” (By the way, I hate that answer.) Then challenge it to see if that is still the best way or if you can improve it. Don’t accept the status quo.

If you follow these steps, your business value will likely increase. 

Please feel free to reach out to me with any feedback you are willing to share, pro or con.

If you have any questions about measuring and growing the value of your business, please contact me for a free conversation.