Innovation and creativity can emerge through relentless positivity, even in the midst of disaster, says Andrew Griffiths.
The global entrepreneur, keynote speaker and international bestselling author has adopted a ‘wild optimism’ and determination throughout his entire professional (and personal) life … and it has set him up for great successes.
As someone who has had exposure to people in business at all levels globally, Andrew told KnowHow founder Bushy Martin on the Get Invested podcast that he’s feeling positive and encouraged by the responses to COVID-19 that he’s seeing from people in business.
Bakeries selling DIY bread making kits, isolated car services and vets embracing video consoles are just some of the many examples Andrew has seen where businesses have been evolving and adapting.
He says these innovations may not just be short-term solutions but instead permanent changes, as they have proved effective on the income and growth of many businesses.
“It’s been so wonderful to see how our people have innovated so ridiculously quickly. I just shake my head at times in awe of how people evolve … we started to see people doing this really clever dealing with the fact that business had to go on,” Andrew said.
“There’s a lot of stuff that people are being forced to do and all of a sudden people are going ‘well, hang on, are we going to stop doing this when things get back to ‘normal’’?
“Innovation is happening also with businesses that all of a sudden are going ‘we can offer more products now. We can offer more experiences’.
“The innovative energy is just extraordinary. I’ve been an entrepreneur for 35 years. I cannot remember any time where I’ve seen innovation being so active, so energetic, so inspirational, it’s just fantastic. I think certainly in the entrepreneur world, we’re kind of going to get used to that.”
To capture this innovation and make valuable changes to your business through any type of crisis, Andrew says it firstly comes down to a speedy response.
“There is definitely a speed to react, and you can miss out a lot of opportunities by being too slow to react and a lot of businesses go broke because they’re too slow to react and they don’t adapt fast enough,” he said.
The second part is about changing your mindset to ask ‘better questions’.
“You really need to have people around you who can ask better questions, who ask ‘what if? ‘not ‘why not?‘. We’ve got to be making decisions that we probably wouldn’t ordinarily make … we’ve got to ask better questions, we’ve got to challenge our thinking,” Andrew said.
“We’re seeing it every day. The stuff that I’m seeing, that is happening from an innovation point of view, would never have happened six weeks ago. If you said to me, we’re going to do this in business, you would just laugh … all the stuff that could never happen is happening. And that sets the scene for the world we live in now.”
By combining these two values and remaining optimistic, Andrew believes individuals and businesses can be smarter with their decisions and even become ‘comfortable with uncertainty’.
“It’s actually nice to sometimes get comfortable with uncertainty because it changes the way we think. It changes our thought process. It changes what we think is absolute and taken for granted … So the upside of this time, versus other scenarios like the GFC where we had to wait for things to get better, is now we’re not really sure what we’re waiting for,” he said.
“I like the tension that’s created by the uncertainty of what’s going on at the moment. And that’s part of what is driving people to be innovative over people during the Global Financial Crisis.”
With all these elements in mind, Andrew firmly believes that the COVID-19 crisis has given everyone an almost once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reassess not only their businesses and business models, but every aspect of their lives.
So, he encourages listeners to seize these moments and think about how they want their future to look post coronavirus.
“I am super optimistic about what’s going on … I look at it and go it is an opportunity for change, but it’s also an opportunity to really highlight some major issues in the business world,” Andrew said.
“What has flawed me is the lack of resilience in business, in terms of financial resilience … I can’t believe big organisations that have, within a week of this happening, been saying ‘yeah, we’ve got no money left’, and small businesses that are basically going from week to week, hand to mouth.”
“It’s a great opportunity to stop, to be really honest, to take stock about your business, to take stock about your personal life, to take stock about your goals, your values … I think there’s a lot of people going ‘you know what, I don’t want to be on this hamster wheel, I don’t want to be working myself to death, I don’t want to work for an organisation that lacks any integrity‘,” he said.
“I think this is a communal and a global thought, a global consciousness that is happening. And I encourage people to be doing that. I’m certainly doing that. I’m definitely taking stock of everything in my life … we have an opportunity here to do a big reset, and whatever that looks like for you, for me, for others, I think that we probably won’t get another opportunity like this to do this kind of ‘global reset’.
“I feel that this is such a profound moment. And when we have such a profound community, it would be a real shame to waste it.”
Listen to the full interview here.
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