Take Action in the New School of Uncertainty

Fall is often a time for a reset, filled with new planners, new routines, and a cultural feeling of starting over. We set new goals for the year in January, but as summer winds down, I find myself often looking to get back into routine, check progress, revisit those goals and revise them to close out the year—both personally and professionally.

Fall 2020? It feels completely different. As I write this, it’s mid-August. If you’re a parent, you’re wondering how our children will return to school—virtual, hybrid, in-person, home-schooled? For everyone: it’s quarantine in some places, mask-free in others; it’s extreme news cycles and impending hurricanes and polarizing political debate. Within our LP Magazine team members across the country, it’s amazing to hear team members talk about their own pandemic experiences in their states and how much it varies for each of us.

It’s unsettling to be living in ambiguity and might feel impossible to find your focus. And yet, pattern interruption is the best time to innovate.

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Whether you’re managing a retail asset protection team, a solution provider serving retailers, or just trying to balance the constant comingle of home and work life, this feeling of ambiguity and uncertainty is central and has us all feeling like we’re in start-up mode in every aspect of our lives.

How can you end the year stronger than you started? How can you see this ambiguity as an opportunity to start fresh or optimize what’s not working? Those are the questions I am asking myself as I reset for the last three months of the year. What does a successful year-end look like?

Accept the Ambiguity as Opportunity

We can stick our noses in the sand and wait this out, but something tells me this approach won’t bode well for any of us. What can we do but embrace it? I’ve been lucky to have some recent conversations with some incredibly smart and innovative retailers and solution providers. We’ve talked about how to make organization, process, and strategy changes during this time—not for the sole purpose of being forced into change right now but because now is the ideal time to pivot, refocus, and refine what works and what doesn’t.

Find Your Focus

Hard isn’t better than easy. Focus on better not harder. If something isn’t working, stop relying on what you have historically done and change direction. Be clear and focused on your goal, but don’t be married to the path. Some of the most successful comebacks result from hard left turns. Take action: if you’re not making movement, ask yourself why progress is elusive. Is there a faster path to what you want? Brainstorm different “hows” to get to your goal. The crazier the better.

And I Mean Really Focus!

We’ve all done this. We make a strategic plan that includes twenty initiatives that, yes, would move the needle. But when you focus on everything, you focus on nothing. Focus on that one thing. Personally, I have done this relating to health and wellness and my commitment to exercise. It’s what has kept me mentally sane during this quarantine, and I enjoy it. As my favorite Peloton instructor Robin Arzon says, “Build the house of hustle one brick at a time.” Take action: build your house. Create a playbook based on repeatable strategies that work. Don’t reinvent the wheel.

Create New Consistencies

I recently read Atomic Habits by James Clear and highly recommend it. Here’s why. Clear is one of the world’s leading experts on habit formation. His book breaks down and distills behavior change into tangible, actionable steps based in science and psychology. These steps over time create long-term change and new habit creation. Whether you’re leading a team, driving innovation, or wanting to lose the “COVID quarantine 10,” this book will serve as a roadmap for enabling clear change in simple ways that make big impact over time. Take action: create small repeatable habits that create big change over time.

Let’s not give in to the idea that 2020 was a crappy year. Let’s finish 2020 a success, in what whatever ways we define it. We deserve it.

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.” – Author unknown, often attributed to Winston Churchill

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