Pandemic Pivot Or Long-Term Transformation?

Pandemic Pivot Or Long-Term Transformation?
  • How can you shift from a short-term pivot into a long-term transformation?
  • Just 41% of leaders think their team is strong – is your organisation full of team spirit?
  • Remote working is no longer enough to attract top talent – how can you attract the people that make a difference?

As 2021 draws to a close, many of us expected to be in a far different position. The new normal has become the old normal, and it can feel that we’re repeating the cycle. The pandemic’s effects continue to be felt, and the longer it goes on, the more businesses will start to feel the pressure.

In 2020, the focus was on the fact that if what you’re doing isn’t going to keep you afloat for the next 6 – 12 months, then it was time to consider making a pivot. But those who have adopted a pivot for the short-term are now in limbo of what happens next. When reverting back, staying in the pivot or planning for the unknown short-term future, all seem impossible; what can organisations do to manage their own transformation?

Shift Your Mindset

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the current state of the world. Most of us are going through an extended mourning period as we lament all we’ve lost and continue to lose. However, this is not the mindset from which you can successfully plan for the future. Instead, you need to shift your outlook and consider how you and your business can emerge from this crisis in a stronger position. 

Hernan Saenz and Dunigan O’Keeffe of Bain and Company have boiled it down to two questions

  • How can we come out stronger than our competition?
  • What can we learn from this that will support our future growth?

Key takeaway: A growth mindset over a fixed mindset can do wonders for business success and organisational optimism.

What’s Your Aim?

How far ahead you’re looking will determine what you need from your organisation. For the short-term, a pivot; for the long-term, a transformation is needed. The aim for pivots is to survive until you can return to business as usual. A transformation is a fundamental shift in the way you do business. This kind of change you want will lay the groundwork for a new way of doing business as you move past the pandemic.

Pivot: Temporary Shift For Survival

When we think of a pandemic pivot, an example that regularly comes up is a temporary shift by producing items like hand sanitiser or PPE. But, you don’t have to be making tangible goods to make this kind of temporary pivot. 

Kidadl is a company that, pre-pandemic, operated an online booking portal for family outings and experiences. To survive the pandemic, they have put most of their operation into hibernation and diverted 70% of their funds into creating editorial content. They are focusing on content to help parents stuck at home with kids. As a result, their web traffic is up 500%.

Transformation: Shift For Longterm Success

For some businesses, 2021 has forced them to reassess what they do and how they do it. In some cases, the outcome is that the CEOs in question are now taking their company in a new direction and have no plans to turn back. 

A great example of this type of transformation is Marco Castelanelli. He’s the founder of Club Vino, a wine tasting event company. Pre-pandemic, he operated in-person wine tasting at hotels. Now they run online wine tasting. Their model is to ship the wine, tasting notes, and links to explainer videos. People can enjoy the tasting from the comfort of their own homes. 

Castelanelli soon realised that this model was a perfect complement to their existing model. This version is more scalable and offers enormous potential for growth moving forward. So out of this crisis, Club Vino has found a new revenue stream and direction.

Key takeaway: Will you be able to return to ‘normal’, or could your business benefit from a long-term shift to meet customer needs?

Reassess Your Processes

Part of your shift, especially for the long-term, should be a complete reevaluation of the processes you currently use. An excellent way to do this is in the form of a blank page review. This means you consider how you should do things without considering how you currently do them. This allows you to get out of the trap of confirmation bias.

Just because you’ve always done something in a certain way doesn’t mean it’s the best way, especially not when the world is in a state of flux.

Merely going about things differently may be all you need to achieve the transformation you want. It may also reveal a lot of cost-saving measures and efficiencies that you can carry forward into the future. Doing this sort of thing every so often can be valuable.

Key takeaway: Ask different members of your organisation how they think the processes should run; there may be new ideas that no one has yet considered.

Focus On Team Cohesion

Many CEOs are concerned about team cohesion. In March 2020, 58% thought their team was strong; by September, it dropped to 41%. Even if you’re not worried about your team right now, you will need to pay attention to how your team reacts if you plan a significant transformation.

When you make any change in the way you work, it can alter people’s workflow. When you shift things to remote/hybrid working, you may find that your teams don’t work in the same way anymore.

Changing your focus is bound to have a similar effect. Anytime a team’s composition changes, there is a settling period. It’s vital to stay alert for where things are no longer working and people who aren’t working well together. 

If your team is not cohesive, then your business will be working at sub-optimal efficiency. Your team will suffer, as well. It’s worth making a conscious effort to monitor the interpersonal friction in your team and take action to bring your people together. 

Key takeaway: When do your teams work best, and how can you maintain that cohesion?

Reevaluate Your Talent Strategy

With so much to focus on, it can feel like your talent strategy isn’t a key component to your current business model. However, when it comes to securing talented team members, the competition is fiercer than ever. With most companies working remotely where they can, it makes it more challenging than ever to attract the right people to round out your team.

When making a major transformation, the chances are that you’re going to need to shuffle people around and possibly seek out new skills. 

A lot of employees are looking for more than just a good working arrangement. After all, most organisations offer remote working now. People want to feel needed and as if their work has a purpose. Taking some time to articulate precisely what working with your company offers new and existing employees can really help to captivate interest and ensure you’re attracting the top talent.

Key takeaway: How can your organisation make sure it’s attracting top talent?



With more than 40 offices in the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific, Horton International has the global resources and local-market expertise to help you attract and retain the most qualified professionals.

We are driven by a single purpose – helping our clients achieve their business objectives.



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