"Pivoting". We are hearing a lot about it these days and particularly in terms of businesses making changes.
Unfortunately it is quickly attaining the status of other words which really aren't suited to the business environment, or words which are used when the speaker cannot think of the right things to say.
"Paradigm shift" was a favourite of the 90's and 00's and I am reminded of a classic Simpsons skit where a person calls out their boss for the incorrect use of the term – it ends with the character saying to the boss "Ok, I'm fired right now aren't I?" and the boss responds with "absolutely" (another poorly used buzzword).
The Mirriam Webster dictionary defines "to pivot" as "to turn on or as if on a pivot"- largely unhelpful but further research gives the definition as "the action in basketball of stepping with one foot while keeping the other foot at its point of contact with the floor".
All points to yet another word potentially being mis-used in the business context doesn't it? I say potentially because, if you use the basketball analogy, in almost all cases this involves a change of direction, the only issue is the action of pivoting neither invokes forward or backward movement.
So, and politicians should especially take note, pivoting is only movement in the sense that you are moving on a single spot and it is about as helpful as saying "keep moving" without knowing what particular direction you are heading in.
Pivoting also implies that you are looking at other options.
Again with basketball, you will pivot and then either start dribbling, pass or shoot. The actual progress happens after the pivot. So if you are pivoting you better have a plan – otherwise the opposition will have the ball or you will be called for a time violation.
My guess is that most people who use the term are, in fact, really saying that they have changed their business and how they do things.
And it is great hearing that some local businesses are emerging from the harsh impact of lockdown with better business models than what they had before. It is important, however, to acknowledge that many are also right now in the process of making very hard decisions as they transition.
The coming weeks, particularly after government support ends, will also see the pressure come on even more than before in the absence of further support. But the evidence on show from the businesses making the right changes is that there is hope and opportunity to emerge from this challenging time better and stronger than before.
Which is why the recent announcement of further support/funding to the Regional Business Partners network is welcomed.
Under this programme I am helping a number of businesses do more than just "pivot". Many are emerging with continuity plans and objectives which can be effective in mitigating the impacts now and into the future.
If you are interested in accessing the funding, call Tim Easton at Whanganui and Partners – who are doing a great job in helping local businesses work through the impacts of lockdown.
If you would like assistance with planning and making the changes necessary to strengthen your business, please give Russell and Zenith Solutions Ltd a call on 021 244 2421.