Lessons I have learned with Web Marketing Strategist extraordinaire David Asarnow.
Pandemics and plagues have a way of upending people’s lives and shifting the course of history. Starting in the 14th Century, the Black Death killed nearly half of Europe’s population in a calamity that lasted four years and continued to come in waves for over two centuries. But even as the plague inexorably wiped out whole villages, it also transformed the fixed strata of medieval society, marking the beginning of the end of an oppressive feudal order that had dominated medieval Europe for a thousand years.
In countless ways, the COVID-19 pandemic and its accompanying waves of social, economic, political, and demographic changes make for an eerie parallel to the era begun by the Black Death. Though we are fortunate that COVID-19 does not have anywhere close to the death toll of our planet’s most devastating pandemics, the seismic shifts we have experienced in such a short period of time cannot be overstated.
The COVID-19 pandemic will be remembered as a moment in history when, almost overnight, the comfortable and profitable patterns of face-to-face human interaction and commerce came to a screeching halt. Economies around the world effectively closed shop as the world watched, haunted by the prospect of an unknown, incalculable virus. With dizzying speed, most accoutrements of modern life were shuttered, leaving millions of people jobless, and many millions in lonely isolation. When possible, the physical world moved into a virtual one, with consequences that are still in process.
More than two years have passed, and while COVID variants continue to emerge, our lives on the surface appear to have returned to some form of “normal.” But even as we return to our everyday lives, the disruptions and changes in how people work and interact are still in process. Many of us continue to meet, interact, shop and search for all kinds of goods and services online. And companies continue to struggle to bring their workers back to the office. Indeed, it will take years to fully grasp the transformations our society has experienced as we navigate the challenges of a VUCA world. It’s a fitting acronym for a situation that has become uncomfortably obvious – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous.
That is why I want to share the important lessons I learned with my friend and web marketing strategist extraordinaire David Asarnow. Before March 2020, when COVID-19 changed the world as we know it, David’s digital marketing agency Business Nitrogen, was focused on continuing its highly successful collaborations with a broad range of enterprises. My career, which took me around the world as a global keynote speaker, communications skills trainer, author, and television personality, was also flourishing. Then, over just a few weeks in March 2020, we both watched our successful businesses evaporate, seemingly without options. And yet, within a few months, we both successfully recalibrated, ramped up our service delivery, and amplified our range of services to place us back on our successful trajectory, this time to meet and even exceed our previous goals.
When it comes to meeting the challenge of extending your reach in a virtual space, David was my ideal traveling companion because he had been doing exactly that for his clients for the last decade. However, our conversations didn’t stop with our own experiences. We also started researching what companies were doing to pivot during COVID and what those who managed to do so successfully had in common.
There is no denying the enormous pain, chaos, and disruption that continues to confront our world. It also emerged that people, companies, and cultures could find a myriad of ways to grapple with shocks to their systems, eventually summoning the means and spirit to survive and even prosper. In fact, it can be argued that the COVID pandemic accelerated seismic changes that were already in process. Even before the pandemic, modern economies were undergoing enormous shifts from physical businesses to virtual commerce and interactions.
But change, especially in the VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) world, is difficult. It requires the ability to nimbly assess a new reality, then review, recalibrate, ramp up and amplify. When confronted by change, the most powerful human urge is a return to the way things were. For many, the status quo appears easier and more comfortable than the unknowable future. But we also all know in our hearts that is not an option.
In these times of uncertainty, David and I have seen a multitude of people, companies, and brands successfully ramp up and amplify their businesses, products, and services, to not only survive but thrive. Ask them why—and we did—and you will find that change derives from a few different places: necessity, fear, strength, and tenacity.
David and I wanted to bring to light how you can ramp up and amplify your impact in this challenging hybrid and rapidly changing environment. With the proper mindset, infrastructure, and strategies, you are a prime candidate to make this leap. It is a reminder that, even amidst the most trying times, a myriad of strategies exists. When implemented efficiently and effectively, they will ensure the best shot at not only surviving but thriving. In upcoming posts we will share insights from heads of industry, business thought leaders, and entrepreneurs who have one thing in common: They have all succeeded in the face of adversity and risen from the struggle to achieve the unlikely.
In upcoming blog posts, I will share some of the following strategies:
R- Using resilience to reassess and recalibrate your situation.
A- Cultivating an attitude of change; accepting new realities with an understanding that change is an essential part of the business equation.
M- Motivating yourself and your co-workers for the change you desire.
P- Having a powerful purpose and crafting a methodology that rallies your team.
L- Understanding that learning is fundamental to growth.
I- Be an ideas person and continue to innovate.
F- Intensifying your focus, and
Y- Developing a positive YES! mindset.
Regardless of your current resources, you can learn from some of the most innovative minds who continue to perfect the process. The time for hesitation is over, and a new era in human history has begun. The power to thrive with agility, compassion, and strategic innovation is well within your grasp!