Our lives changed in March 2020. Some who were at the right place, with the right offer, at the right time, saw their businesses explode beyond their wildest dreams, while others ended up shuttering their doors forever.

In mid-March, I was set to speak around the world. I had speaking opportunities lined up in Europe, Australia, and North America.

Three days later, it was all gone.

Every group I dealt with was so unsure of what was to come they canceled their 2020 events and started holding their breath for 2021.

For me, this wiped out my income for 2020 – and possibly beyond – in less than 72 hours.

This article is not about tragedy or having a pity party; it is about what comes next.

Like millions of other business owners and hundreds of millions of employees worldwide, I learned to adapt. I assessed what had happened, took stock of where I was, determined my real strengths and what my clients needed, and pivoted to thrive in the new normal.

Life is about being adaptable and resilient.

It is about realizing what is right in front of you and what may be just beyond the horizon.

All of us need to be working in our business at times. Rolling up our sleeves and making sure things get done. That is how businesses survive and thrive.

However, if all you do is focus on the here and now and short-term gain, you are putting your business in a position to fail over the long term.

Every business must look three to five years into the future at all times, assessing what might happen next.

Your crystal-ball gazing will never be perfect. There will always be unforeseen circumstances that derail your best-laid plans. However, suppose those plans had flexibility built in, and your team had a culture of adaptability, creativity, and readiness to change? If this were the case, obstacles in front of you could be overcome.

Focus first on your people, then your process and purpose, and finally profits.

People are the cornerstone of your success. It is the collective mind of everyone within the organization working together that enables you to succeed.

Your people see and hear things you never will, from each other, clients, and vendors. They are your organization’s eyes and ears, and how they interpret that data, bring it forward, and act upon it enables long-term success.

I urge you to empower, train, coach, motivate, and lead your people. That is the single most significant investment you can make in your business, and it will pay off with dividends for years to come.

Process and purpose are equally important. Process enables you to understand where you are today, and what is working and what isn’t. You must evaluate what is working, what requires adjustment, and what needs to be replaced.

This is done based upon the constant evaluation of whether the status quo continues to serve the needs of the organization and its clients – or not. Purpose enables you to be critical of your process. It is the guiding light for moving forward. It allows you to determine the right path and what is a distraction, what aligns with your values and what does not.

When you combine process and purpose, a line in the sand is created that measures whether you are moving forward successfully or not.

Profit is merely an outcome of good business. It is probably the most focused on a metric, but it never tells an organization’s true story.

Profit can be gained by cheapening product quality, slashing salaries, cutting jobs, or moving production overseas. None of this speaks to innovation or forward-thinking companies. It leads to disenfranchised clients and disengaged employees, unmotivated suppliers, and the eventual perception that you are nothing more than a low-cost, low-value commodity, quickly replaced and soon forgotten.

However, profit built by focusing on people, process, and purpose allows for sustainable growth and a far more loyal client base.

How do you wish to be perceived over the next decade and beyond?

What legacy do you wish to leave, and how do you want people to talk about you in the future?

Now is the time to evaluate your people, process, and purpose and see if they are setting you up for future success – or dooming you to eventual failure.

Here is wishing everyone health, safety, and long-term success.

Connect with Ben HERE to discuss how to provide your people with the skills and mindset they need to lead teams effectively into the new normal.