Why pivoting during covid-19 is important for businesses

irisIris' Introspective Reflection

Having learned and reflected on the 19 interviews we had throughout the International Study Trip course, I found this journey to be a fantastic learning experience in terms of both professional and personal growth. Our trip pivoted from going to Hong Kong, Singapore, London, to eventually going online due to both political turmoil and COVID-19. We proactively responded to the COVID-19 crisis by pivoting and seeking global opportunities, which was a huge success with so many organizations from diverse industries agreeing to meet with our International Study group.

Let’s talk about the impact of COVID-19 and what I learned from the International Study Trip course about pivoting during this crisis. Dominic Lau from Ripple Ventures, talked about the impact of sales slowdowns and how many companies have pivoted into adjacent markets such as Airbnb, where they serve healthcare workers with monthly packages during health crises. Sid Paquette from RBC Technology and Innovation Banking mentioned that a successful CEO needs endless creativity to pivot quickly in new situations, coachability to take advice, and good decision-making skills to survive through these crises. John Nicola at Nicola Wealth Management used many historical examples to show that any company that consistently pivots and adjusts their business models to remain relevant, are great businesses. By being flexible and nimble in their thinking, Singapore was ready with a contingency plan when COVID hit, so that they would come out of the pandemic even stronger. Chia-yi Chua, Singapore's Honorary Consul-General from Red Cross Canada, listed the example of the Singapore airlines reducing the number of flights before the COVID spike, instead of giving away free flights.

Similar to PSA’s path, Kelvin Tan from PSA International said that your life and career can take many turns, but you need to pivot and adapt when situations change. With pivoting comes many risks, but every decision has a trade-off and it’s important to take these risks if you want to open more doors in your career. Jambu Palaniappan at OMERS Ventures London said that one’s risk tolerance will never increase when they get older, so we should maximize our risks when we are young. Because of this I have made a promise to myself that I will maximize my risks in the early years of my career by working at, or founding my own start-up, especially when failures in starting a company are no longer a negative thing, but instead a learning opportunity.

We are facing an unprecedented challenge for the entire human race, and those who can find viable opportunities during a crisis can be successful, so we need to have a proactive and positive mindset to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I had the opportunity to hear many insightful opinions that helped me realize that I can consciously pivot throughout my career to maximize my impact as a leader by being innovative, adaptive, and embracing new trends.

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