By Tino Mantella
TLG President & CEO
Most companies have resisted remote work for decades. The pandemic made us all realize that most people can effectively work from home. Most companies were pacing their process to move to the cloud and then boom, leveraging technology created efficiencies and necessities.
Most leaders, before Covid hit, had their operating plans and KPIs set for at least a year. For many of us, those plans went out the window.
Why did long-held business theories change so quickly? You all know the answer. Many companies were in survival mode. The writing was on the wall. Do what you need to do to survive, or you die. Surprisingly, it hasn’t been unusual to observe businesses achieving an unanticipated uptick after making changes that never would have happened had they not been forced to happen.
Let me give you an example that is close to home. The Turknett Leadership Group has been in business for nearly thirty-five years. When I took over the helm as their CEO in October 2018, we had a certain way of doing things. For example, we are a nationally recognized leader in executive coaching. It was common for our out-of-state clients to fly in from across the USA to meet with our distinguished coaches in our physical offices.
I saw the way things worked and embraced it. I didn’t question the process because, in a sense, it was working. Just before Covid hit, we moved to beautiful A-rated office space. The coaches’ offices overlooked a lake. Each office provided privacy and a sense of calm and beauty. The perfect environment for coaching. I thought we were set. Little did I know that Covid was going to hit hard one month after our move. Consequently, no coaches or clients were coming into the office. Now was our team’s chance to be quick or dead.
Without missing a beat, we decided to ready all of our coaches and clients to use Zoom. The TLG team and our coaches worked together to swiftly prepare the environment for virtual coaching. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised that activities went so smoothly. It doesn’t stop there. I wasn’t the only one that thought in-person coaching was the only way to go. The prospective clients felt the same way.
Prior to the pandemic, it was difficult to secure a client from outside the southeast. CEOs, CHROs, and other C-suite decision makers felt that their employees receiving coaching needed a coach within driving distance to their offices. Then Covid hit. Suddenly, we saw the opportunity to coach people anywhere in the world. And, more importantly, companies saw that virtual coaching could be just as effective as coming to an office. In fact, for the clients that we did have from out-of-state, think of all the time and $$ that the company saved by not having to fly their employee in for their appointments.
It’s fair to ask me this question. Why the heck didn’t I push virtual coaching before it became a necessity. My answer is, I didn’t think it would work, and to be brutally honest, why would I change a tried-and-true methodology?
Today, we are coaching clients and conducting all types of leadership development projects in 20 states across the USA. We also are delivering our services in Mexico, Canada, South Korea and other countries.
I conclude by asking my original question, imagine if we actually planned to reinvent? What if we took the tack that we are always in a state of near-crises mode? What could we accomplish if we weren’t satisfied with the status-quo?
When things are going well, it’s time to press the envelop and to question everything. I am fairly sure that none of us are running the perfect business and we can all find some diamonds in the rough.