Economic hangover, The right coach, Cognitive load, AR cut & paste & Sanitised travel
10th May 2020 Evolution Partners Newsletter
“I’ve always had this view that success is not a straight line up. If you read the stories of successful people, almost every successful person has had to deal with some degree of hardship, whether that hardship is personal hardship, health-related hardship, or a business issue.” — Bill Ackman: Getting Back Up
Hope you’re Thriving!
I’ve had a busy week with 3 full-day strategic planning workshops via zoom and meetings on the other days. It’s awesome that people go into these workshops for the first time thinking that it will be awful as it’s not in person, and then by the end of the day are thinking how we could ever make it as good in person again. Like so many things around us all, things may never be the same again.
Things have been changing faster than ever, and agility, strategy and liquidity matter most.
60 days ago, the US had the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years.
Today, the US has the highest unemployment rate in 80 years.
If we’ve flattened the curve and either controlled or contained the virus in many places around the world, much like the morning after the night before, we are now faced with a full-blown economic hangover.
An example of what we already know and will come to learn about this hangover comes from New Zealand entrepreneur Josh Comrie who released a study this week with 262 business owners and found that 36% plan to reduce their team size by an average of 5 people or 29%. Interestingly 97% had taken the Governments wage subsidy and most important for the business owners was to take advice from a professional advisor in how to build strategies, plans and navigate out. You can’t outsource leadership, but you can surround yourself with the best people.
When considering an advisor, this article from Forbes was relevant and discusses how to find the right coach for you and your situation. An interesting takeaway…
“When you are looking for a coach, here are three key questions to ask yourself first:
• What outcome am I expecting from working with a coach? How do I expect to become different — financially? Personally?
• What level of investment will I make today? The level of investment could influence the level of coaching you receive.
• What background is non-negotiable for me? Do they have to have entrepreneurship experience or sales experience, or do they need to be a published author?”
And then the key questions to ask a potential coach…
“• How many continual clients do you currently have on a regular basis?
• What is your client retention rate? (If they don’t know, that would be a concern.)
• On average, how long do clients work with you?”
For me, as a leadership team coach who has worked with and trained hundreds of other coaches across the world, the primary goal is fit, fit like a hand in a glove with you, your style and needs.
Like many people I’ve found many things surprising in the past couple of months, I think many peoples assumptions have been questioned. For example, I was on a call with a client who has implemented a work from home policy for the first time, as many CEOs have. As a part of this, he has also implemented software called Activtrak to track which websites and software programs team members use, and when they are working during the day. It was impressive that the team are almost all working all the day from home but the real surprise was that 29.5 hours per week are spent on email. Not having email open in the background, but actively using email. That’s 64% of work time being used to type emails. Thinking about that another way, if 64% of your payroll was for people to type emails – probably many to one another – there’s a great opportunity to improve productivity. So we’re thinking about how to take the daily huddle and weekly meeting to the next level to reduce the dependence on email.
Then there’s also another aspect to the assumptions around working from home, and that is commuting. Speaking with another CEO in the past week, he has calculated that he is currently saving around 350 hours per year in commuting to and from work, and to client meetings, which have been replaced by zoom video calls. He then calculated that should he continue to work remotely after 6 years he would have gained an entire year of productivity.
So as we think about the possibility of going back to work in an office, it’s possible that we may be negatively affecting productivity much more than we anticipate. But more than that, looking past the current situation, you may be significantly limiting your talent pool as Matt Mullenweg explains in this excellent Ted talk Why working from home is good for business.
If you’ve been feeling more tired than usual recently it’s not necessarily from the stress you’re experiencing, but instead, it’s likely from multitasking. When we need to make routine decisions that we habitually, regularly make such as what to wear or what to eat for dinner, it doesn’t increase our cognitive load. Light multi-tasking in this area is ineffective but possible. In the current environment, we are regularly making multiple decisions which are significantly increasing our cognitive load, thereby making us more tired as explained in this excellent article from Professor Ben Newell from the University of NSW.
Another assumption of mine that was challenged this week was on LinkedIn. I received an invitation to connect from a person, I accepted the connection and he sent me a voicemail message within the messenger app. Now that sounds a pretty simple feature but if a new connection sends a simple voicemail introducing themselves in an authentic way, it really does help to transcend the barrier between social media/phone text, and people communicating.
Finally, on technology, we haven’t seen a lot of commercial success with augmented reality since the days of Pokemon Go in 2016, but I saw a really interesting application this week. Cyril Diagne from Paris has developed an iPhone app which takes a photo of your surroundings, cuts out the surroundings and pastes the cut image into photoshop. In the sample video, he takes a photo of a plant in his room, the app cuts the background ‘off’ the plant image, he points the phone at his laptop and the plant image, without the surroundings, is pasted into the photoshop image on the laptop.
Check out the 40-second video here. I don’t think that this is challenging assumptions, I think it’s more the deception of linear vs exponential as discussed in this post Exponential Growth vs Linear Thinking in management teams.
This week on The Growth Whisperers podcast
On episode 4 of The Growth Whisperers, Kevin Lawrence and I talk about the following.
Finding A players during COVID19
During the Coronavirus pandemic, one of the greatest opportunities is to improve the effectiveness of your team, to use this time and improve the productivity and culture of your team by finding and hiring the best talent in your industry. The reason is that A players, the top 10% of available candidates typically don’t apply for jobs, in fact they are almost always asked, and they decide when their employer makes a mistake. Kevin and Brad talk about the opportunities in the market right now to improve the quality of your team.
MeUndies Profit per X
MeUndies is a subscription underwear service that has developed a fantastic strategy to win loyal clients with a direct relationship, & a subscription service to send you new underwear each month. The Growth Whisperers talk about how this business model works & why it is so attractive.
Listen to The Growth Whisperers
What I am finding interesting
At this point, the Australian Government are saying that they don’t know when international borders will open again, but it will be a long time.
When they do open, air travel will be different.
But looking to the future, in a new report, “The Rise of Sanitised Travel,” SimpliFlying anticipates dozens of ways air travel might change in the coming months and years.
- Online check-in: Besides choosing their seat or paying for checked bags, passengers might also need to upload a document to confirm the presence of COVID-19 antibodies before they fly.
- Airport curbside: Passengers could be required to arrive at least four hours ahead of their flight, and pass through a “disinfection tunnel” or thermal scanner to check their temperature before being allowed to enter the airport.
- Check-in and bag drop: New touchless kiosks would allow passengers to check-in by scanning a barcode, or using gestures or voice commands. Agents would be behind plexiglass shields, and bags would be disinfected and then “sanitagged.”
- Health check: Passengers would undergo a health screening, and potentially even have their blood tested. In April, Emirates became the first airline to conduct rapid onsite COVID-19 testing of passengers before boarding.
- Security: Each carry-on bag and security bin would be disinfected when entering the X-ray machine, using fogging or UV-ray techniques, then “sanitagged.”
- Boarding: Passengers would need to be present an hour before departure, maintain social distancing in the gate area and board only when they receive individual notifications on their smartphones to prevent crowding in the jet bridge.
- On the plane: The pre-flight safety video might include sanitation procedures, as passengers wipe down their seats and tray tables. In-flight magazines will be removed, seatback pockets emptied, and passengers will likely use their own devices to watch videos. An in-flight janitor might keep lavatories and other high-touch areas disinfected after passenger use.
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