1st Executive Blog

27 Apr Survive – Pivot- Thrive! Where are You?

It’s worth sharing some of the findings from our global advisory group, Mindshop, and our colleague advisors from around the world about what they’re seeing in their marketplaces.

First of all we understand that businesses will typically be facing 1 of 3 scenarios:

1. Busy - business is still going well with some disruption to the way they operate and demand may even be increasing.

2. Low Impact - perhaps there is a revenue reduction of between 10% and 20% with some uncertainty about the future and the possibility that the impact could be short-term.

3. High Impact - revenue reductions of 50% or more, or the business has even stopped operating as normal.

In each of these scenarios we have seen the need for common overarching responses and the need to maintain those on cycles of no more than 30 days. These responses are firstly to Survive, followed by exploring the options to Pivot or Adapt and then to move into a Thrive mode in the new reality.


Business Leader Journey Survive_Pivot_Adapt_Thrive Public_page-0001 (1)

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We are aware of some businesses that have already made a substantial Pivot and may have changed, for example, the focus of their manufacturing and consequently have continued to do very well. While that looks like a great outcome we would expect the best of these businesses to already be planning whether they need to make another Pivot as things change or to lock their new found income streams into their future business model. These are strategic decisions that will need to be taken quickly.

Being approximately 6 weeks into an overall community response, we have seen that most businesses are anticipating that their survival initiatives will probably be around a 3 month process and that they are about halfway through that now. We are also seeing an expectation that the search for, and execution of, opportunities to Pivot will take a further 6 months and it may be as much as 12 to 18 months before organisations are starting to thrive in their new reality.

In looking at what this means for leaders, there are a whole range of strategies and tactics that can be applied, here, we would like to just provide a few examples under the Survive and Pivot/Adapt responses, and then point you to some free resources that you may find helpful.


1. For Leaders in all scenarios

a. Survive - Calmness, communication and scenario plans are vital

b. Pivot/Adapt - regularly review your business vision - things will change

c. Thrive - have your growth plan ready with a new view of risk mitigation based on our current shared experience

2. For Leaders in the Busy Scenario

a. Continually review the operational capabilities to respond to unexpected falls in demand and to anticipate growth

b. Make sure that you continually update your disaster scenario plans - it could still happen to you

c. Make sure to use your newfound cash flow to prepare yourself well for your new future as you continue to develop your new product and service offerings

3. For Leaders in the Low Impact Scenario

a. Communication and focus are both here, team members will have seen enough of the alternative scenarios to be concerned about their future and if they are not working with purpose, low-impact can turn into high-impact very quickly

b. Your Pivot responses should see a revised strategic plan focusing on recovering lost business but also on evolving into modified products and services - reimagine these in a changed market

4. For Leaders in a High Impact Scenario

a. Hibernate long-term strategically important areas of your business as effectively as possible

b. Choose the team members to work with you on the recovery very carefully

c. Reimagine the business as a leaner and more effective operational unit as the market starts to recover or you discover opportunities to Pivot


Obviously, these are just simple snapshots of leadership responses, but clarity of thinking in all scenarios is what will see good businesses coming out of this on the other side successfully.

Feel free to download our Business Leader’s crisis navigation matrix above. We also have a range of other support initiatives that you see here.

Good luck, stay safe and keep learning.