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    Entries in pivot (1)

    Monday
    Oct192015

    Leaders Who Pivot

    The term pivot has grown in popularity recently with its application to the world of the start up, the lean start up and making a course correction.

    Eric Ries’ 'The Lean StartUp' explains it as a whole step in the process of Build/Measure/Learn, that from the learning part, you may need to head off over there, in another direction depending on market response to your idea or other influences that mean you need to shift and adjust and adapt… to be agile. 

    In this VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous), uncertainty needs to be met not with ridigity but with flexibility. 

    Are you willing to shift off your set course? How willing are you to make a course correction?

    Aaah, but what if you’re not a start up? What if you’re an old old family business? What if you’re part of a BIG global institution like a bank or a service business or health care provider or a big, cumbersome government department? 
    What has 'starting up' anything got to do with you? How could you possibly pivot with what the organisation is working on? Maybe you think it will take six months to get things to shift to another direction no matter how small. Or perhaps the place is always pivoting, crazy-like, not able to set its mind on anything.

    Well, here’s the deal.  Individuals can pivot.  A lot. 

    The Daily Pivot

    Have you watched someone walking down the street, then they kind of change their mind and quickly start walking back the way they’ve come, only to switch again and head across the road in another direction (looking both ways of course).   There are some quick pivots there, a change of mind, a rearranging of priorities and working out what to do first, next, later. 

    The Lifestyle Pivot

    Or have you heard from a friend who had plan A in place (selling their house, living in another country, planning a holiday to exotic location) only to meet up with them again and they’re now running with plan B (staying put, staying put and staying put - having a staycation). These are all changes in thinking, although these are all pretty safe. 

    Perhaps next time you meet up they are onto Plan C: haven’t sold the house but are renting it out, are doing a work placement in another city and are holidaying in a developing country as a volunteer. More changes. More pivots.  
    In business, connecting in to experimenting and risking and willingness to fail is the pivot. 

    If something doesn’t work, move on and get on to doing something else. 


    "So what do we do? Anything. Something. So long as we just don't sit there. If we screw it up, start over. Try something else. If we wait until we've satisfied all the uncertainties, it may be too late. 

    - Lee Iacocca


    Plot Twists and Tilts

    The pivot is the ‘plot twist’. You’ve seen it in movies and films and some of the best storyline in the world feature the unexpected pivot.

    It looks like this: all’s well and everything is going great and then when you least expect it, here it comes, the ‘whammmo’ plot twist. 

    In improvisation where performers make up stuff as they go along, it’s called a ‘tilt’. Unexpected but responsive and it makes for brilliant theatre. You’ll get gasps and oooohs and aaaaaahs from the audience for a good tilt!

    The Business Pivot

    Learn from this. If you’re building, measuring and learning, no matter your field or industry, welcome the plot twist, the pivot and the preparedness to head off in another direction. It may be just a slight correction, a few degrees off, but it’s different enough to show you some different measurements and create some different learnings and leads to very different outcomes. 

    Ask these questions (in a workshop, strategy session or team meeting): 

    • What are you sticking to at the moment?
    • What are you hanging on to, willing the thing to work dammit?
    • What do you need to ‘give up’ on and shift, or pivot?
    • What could a pivot look like in this situation?
    • What would be a BIG mofo pivot?
    • What could be a smaller pivot - but a pivot nonetheless?
    • Who are you working with at the moment who needs to read this? Who isn’t shifting, one iota? Who needs to pivot?

     Be a leader who pivots; a leader who responds in uncertainty and doesn’t get stuck, paralysed or frozen from indecision.