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By Josh Gilmore, President of Gilmore
Our team has been incredibly blessed throughout the tumult of the last three months. Our staff and the majority of the organizations we serve have thus far remained healthy and been impacted in limited fashion by the COVID pandemic and more recent protests.
That said, ALL of us are operating in a chaotic environment where questions seem to come faster and easier than answers. There’s no doubt that the stress of this has impacted each of us to varying degrees. Thankfully we appear to be emerging from the fog and life seems to be returning to some semblance of normal in our area. However, many agree that we’re unlikely to ever return to whatever “normal” was when the calendar turned to 2020.
As someone responsible for the strategic direction of our organization, it’s our job to determine where we stand and what we should be doing. Nobody on planet Earth has ever managed through what Q2 of 2020 has delivered us. I certainly don’t have all the answers but wanted to use this space to share some of the thoughts, concerns and questions the Gilmore team has been wrestling with recently. Again, the questions seem to come more easily than the answers.
The first and most pressing question seems to be, what changes do we need to make to protect the health of our employees and visitors as we continue to “open up?” What changes might we consider that have little or no impact on health but might protect our organization from liability (at least in Kansas, no protections against frivolous COVID lawsuits have been enacted to date)?
At Gilmore, we’ve leaned heavily on the experts who regularly provide us with legal, human resources and financial advice. We also benefit greatly from a network of industry peers across the country who are walking the same path. We continue to have a significant number of our employees working from home. We’ve taken several steps to preserve the culture and camaraderie that makes Gilmore a company our staff are happy to call “home” as they’ve adapted to a new work routine. To mitigate risk for those employees that have returned to our offices, we have strict disinfection processes in place and are having glass panels installed atop our office cubicles to provide an additional measure of protection. from airborne “bugs” that might seek to jump.
Stock market indications aside, most decision makers we speak with are currently focused on preserving cash and remaining profitable, while waiting to see if the worst of the economic storm has passed. At Gilmore our stance today is much the same. It is important to me that our business be a force helping pull the economy forward when it is responsible to do so, but today admittedly seems a bit premature.
To a fault, my focus is nearly always on the mid to longer-term future, and that’s where I’m pointing most of my attention today. The “new normal” will, without question, create opportunities in every corner of the economy (major events like this always do), and those who prepare now will have a significant edge when things spin back up.
At Gilmore we’re working hard to identify the changing needs of our client base, identify new pockets of opportunity in verticals on which we may not have focused before, and to strategize on how to capture those opportunities as the economic embers begin to glow. The most obvious for a technology provider is the huge increase in work-from-home (WFH) that has recently taken root out of necessity. The capabilities around this are not new offerings for us, though the popularity may change the volume of projects in this area. The security ramifications of WFH are huge and will require new tools and tactics, and we’re working to bring those to bear.
What opportunities does WFH present for our own businesses? Could we fuel healthy growth by being even more flexible in this regard? Imagine how much better your odds are of finding the right candidate for your next opening if “report to an office in Kansas each day” was no longer a requirement of employment?
More broadly, will the rural to urban migration we’ve seen for decades slow or reverse? Will the business climate in middle America improve as a result, causing “all boats to rise?” What changes are coming to your industry? Do you have a strategy to capture the opportunities that result?
If the first five months of 2020 have taught us anything, it’s that no one can predict what the future holds. But we as leaders are entrusted with the responsibility of considering the information we have, determining the strategic direction and developing solid planning that gives all our stakeholders the best chance of success. The Gilmore team stands ready to help you in your quest!