Improvise - produce or make (something) from whatever is available
Adapt - become adjusted to new conditions / make (something) suitable for a new use or purpose; modify
Overcome - succeed in dealing with (a problem or difficulty)
An established motto of the US Special Forces Green Berets, "Improvise, Adapt, Overcome" has been used often to describe how people and businesses have responded to the Coronavirus Pandemic. Whilst inspirational, and seemingly appropriate, I think most people have over-estimated where we might be in this process.
As Lockdown 3 hits the UK, it is clear we are still dealing with a fluid situation, with more unknowns than knowns, and more challenges being presented on an almost daily basis.
In my humble opinion, we’re still in the improvise stage, using the latest available information and resources to hand to respond with the tools available to us in a world in constant flux.
That’s not to downplay or criticise the resilience and response that many businesses have made to protect their people and customers during the last year. But how can we fully adapt when the pandemic is still providing daily and weekly curveballs?
The fact that we are improvising is great. We’ve pulled our digital levers, adopted new routes to market, partnered to provide new avenues of distribution and fulfilment, and pivoted roles to support in areas of increasing demand.
What comes next is to fully adapt. Beyond pulling established levers to investing fully in putting the customer front and centre in providing new experiences that align with our current ways of living and working.
- It means intimately understanding the evolving mindset of the nation, brilliantly described by Delineate’s white paper ‘United, Divided’
- It means reassessing priorities and backlogs to focus on the most important projects for future changes.
- It means investing in solutions that will provide your business not just with solutions for today, but solutions that allow you to respond in the Karios moments.
(The ancient Greeks expressed time in two ways; Chronos, the chronological passing of time, and Karios, a special moment in time or a happening. Karios is to be fully taken advantage of in the moment, otherwise the opportunity is wasted. Karios is often characterised by taking the uncomfortable or less trodden path. Those that most adequately manage their lives/operations are better able to rise to the occasion when Karios occurs, forging new and exciting ways forward.)
Lots of people ask me why businesses like Uniqodo haven’t experienced considerable growth over the last year, considering we specialise in eCommerce promotions, sales and conversion. My answer is simple, businesses are still improvising. And that’s good. When they’re ready to adapt, we’ll be here to support.
Whilst we navigate the third national lockdown, uncertainty about the new COVID variant, and the fraught task of mass vaccination, businesses need to continue to improvise, as do we. Get the right levers in the best place now, and when the plates stop shifting so far and so much, let’s be ready to embrace the Karios moments and adapt to the future that lies ahead.
Only then can we start to approach the status of having fully overcome this situation.
For now, and to quote another military term, Stand To.
Stand To refers to the patrol or defence positions taken up at dusk and dawn. The moments in the day when you’re most at risk from fading light or the drowsy moments of first light. The transitionary moments. Stand To is a call to be present, to quieten the mind and be watchful and mindful of the potential dangers.
This past year has been wearisome. But it’s not over yet.
Stand To and continue to improvise.
We’re still on the journey. But the fun stuff comes soon when we get to embrace the time to adapt and forge a new path.......