Better Answers, Greater Direction15 April, 2020
Research might not feel top of the priority list right now and coaching may sound like indulgent luxury. Survival is for many businesses the primary focus. Working out if and how to continue operating is essential, be that delivering frontline services to vulnerable customers or understanding where your customers might come from next.
So what if I offer you an accessible, friendly way of helping you finding what you need to take the next steps forward most effectively?
Identifying what you need, finding reliable information to solve emerging problems and improving your understanding of the changed environment in which your business now operates, is an essential part of developing an action plan to navigate the immediate threats and build resilience to those that materialise in the longer term.
Far from a luxury, being able to do this yourself, do it with confidence and do it quickly is critical to survival.
That's research coaching.
What, where and how?
So where are you in that process? You may not know, you may have passed through them once, twice, maybe more times already. But these are the three main type of questions you will need to ask yourself. I have added a few examples below each to help you think about your own situation.
1. What are the questions you need to answer to overcome each problem your business faces as a result of the current crisis?
How can customers contact me now they can’t come and see me? What is available that can allow them to get in touch easily? Am I able to use Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp for this purpose? Will my customers be able to access and trust this new way of working?
2. Where and how will you find the relevant and reliable information to answer those questions?
3. And what will you do with that information to overcome the problem and develop your solution(s)?
Information to act
Right now, research for you is probably about finding the reliable information you need to keep going and surviving.
For your front-facing, day-to-day activities, your priorities might be clear but stressful: what do your customers need/want from you and how can you change the way you deliver that?
These questions require quick answers that can be translated into swift yet effective and efficient action. Therefore things to think about include how to find out who your customers are, which of these to prioritise if necessary, the different options for delivery and what you need to put into place logistically to make this happen.
You may be doing or have already done this but did it work?
Remember, innovation is about responding to needs and is often realised by looking at what is already there and how it can be used, shaped and repurposed to fill the gaps you face. In order to do this you need to know what those needs are, what you have to use and how to know if the innovation works. Can you do this?
And those with a backroom focus maybe this crisis is an opportunity. Can you be catching up with the tasks needed to improve your business but that are repeatedly pushed into second on the to-do list by fire-fighting priorities? This time can be used for essential planned maintenance (forced but perhaps overdue). What you do now can be a huge investment in your future and help you deliver improved products and services once the current crisis is over. So what is on that list?
I don't pretend that any of this is easy and unfortunately I don't hold the magic formula to success. But if you respond to a crisis with panic you achieve very little and waste quite a lot.
Do you think that now is the right time to arm yourself with smarter thinking? If so, what help would be beneficial to you today?
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