Have the right staff on board when facing a pivot

Few businesses reach maturity without having to pivot or change direction at some point during their journey. In fact, most of them will have to change a couple of times to adapt to changing market conditions or new opportunities. 

Pivots don't have to be intimidating or scary and having the right team of creative thinkers and problem solvers behind you can make it much easier. There are 5 things to keep in mind when facing a pivot.

  1. Take responsibility for the things you can control – have faith in your original vision and look critically at the things in your business that you can control and change. Businesses run into difficulties when they overextend and try to control things outside their sphere of influence. This often results in focussing on the wrong things. Make sure all your staff are on the same page.
  2. Encourage your staff to keep a realistic perspective – while it can be a humbling experience to admit your product was off the mark, it's not the end of the world. However, a pivot shouldn't be a way to avoid the hard stuff either. A realistic perspective means evaluating any changes in the light of a clear strategy and renewed understanding of your target market.
  3. Learn from mistakes – before making any changes encourage staff to reflect on what worked and what didn't and then make adjustments. Develop a culture where staff are prepared to give things a go and learn from their mistakes. This process of evaluation is critical. Substantially changing your business model should be based on far more than one or two clients' feedback. You need to know that the new direction you're going in has merit.
  4. Recognise when it's time to change – it's hard to admit that you've misread the market and developed something no one wants. Rather than accepting that it's time to try something new, companies often resort to self-sabotaging behaviours. Blaming team members, rationalising decisions or covering up mistakes and avoiding the issue are destructive behaviours that just delay the inevitable.
  5. A pivot involves commitment not a quick fix – pivots demand staff commitment long after the enthusiasm of a new direction has passed. Don't think of improvements to your business model as a destination, they are a series of small steps – build, test and learn, in an ongoing journey of continuous improvement. The path to success is rarely a straight line and having staff who are creative thinkers and problem solvers can help you know when to pivot and when to persevere.



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