“I believe that the most important single thing, beyond discipline and creativity, is daring to dare.”Maya Angelou
Resilience is defined by most as the ability to recover from setbacks, adapt well to change, and keep going in the face of adversity. The need for Canadian metering companies to be resilient has never been more of a survival tactic than it is right now.
We have all endured a perfect storm of once-in-a-lifetime events. Historically, if you endured just one of these black swan events during your career, it would have been deemed to be a great accomplishment. Yet, during the past three years, we have all faced no less than six of these notorious once-in-a-lifetime crisis events. These include:
- COVID-19 and the shutdown of major supply centres, such as Taiwan, Shanghai, and Zhejiang
- An imminent global recession driven by rapid inflation and rising interest rates
- The war between Russia and Ukraine
- The global energy crisis, mostly in Europe but now impacting North America
- The broken supply chain and the inability to source vital CPUs and integrated circuits
- The tensions between countries – China and USA, China and Taiwan, North and South Korea, and the recent collaboration between China and Russia versus the USA
Any one of these black swan events has the ability to disrupt a business for a decade or worse, they could kill a thriving enterprise outright. So, six of them construct the perfect storm.
Any business’ survival is dubious at best. So, do not look back. You are not going that way. Always look forward.
In order to survive these storms, it takes many things, but none is more important than pure, gutsy business resiliency.
So, how does a business become resilient?
The first step is to change the way you do things. You need to disrupt your manufacturing process and deliberately deconstruct it and then reconstruct it. It is facing destruction anyways, so why not be in control of the deconstruction yourself. In this way, you have a margin of control. You are being proactive rather than reactive. Doing nothing is a path to failure. So, act now and act fast.
Second, you need to rethink the supply chain itself. What options do you have for a new path to components used in your products? Are there any new pathways at all? If no, then rethink the product itself. Can you reinvent your products to be functional in a different way? Can you change them from hardware-based to software-based? Can you make them mechanical and not needing a CPU at all?
Third, is collaboration an option? Can you team up with another company to help you both succeed? Even if it is a competitor.
Fourth, can you sustain revenue and cash flow in a new manner? Instead of just being a manufacturer, can you offer services to augment your business revenues and repurpose some of your workers? For example, focus on break/fix work and offer to restore older products and salvage parts from dead or retired products.
Fifth, problem-solving in this environment demands some personality traits that you may not possess. These traits may include:
- A positive attitude; be happy, fun, playful; your team feels your attitude intensely and responds to it by reflecting it back. It is not the end of the world!
- Pursue a tenacious attitude built upon persistence and optimism
- Composure and calmness are essential, so you need to regulate emotions. Stop, take a breath
- Healthy lifestyle – get some sleep, get away from the problem and relax – often the solutions pop into your mind when you least expect it
- Resourcefulness and planning, follow processes and disciplines to solve problems. The PMI.org is a great resource to planning processes
- Deep analysis and analytical investigation; what are the problems, defined in vivid details. You cannot solve the problems if they are not well identified
Sixth, you need to be open to new ideas. You need a learning mindset. You need to become adaptable and welcome change. Most people resist change at all costs. People hate change. Yet, change is already here – whether we like it or not. So, embrace change. To truly love change. You will need to become a lifelong learner and seek to understand the world around us and adopt a new worldview that is different from your previous perspectives.
“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why we call it ‘The Present’”Eleanor Roosevelt
The secret to resiliency is all in the way that you approach the problem.
If you see the situation as the end of the world, then it will become the end of your world. However, if you rally the team, empower them, allow them to fail while trying – without repercussions, then they will step up too. You are the leader, so take charge and lead them out of this perfect storm. You got this!
About the Author:
Michael Martin is the Vice President of Technology with Metercor Inc., a Smart Meter, IoT, and Smart City systems integrator based in Canada. He has more than 35 years of experience in systems design for applications that use broadband networks, optical fibre, wireless, and digital communications technologies. He is a business and technology consultant. He was senior executive consultant for 15 years with IBM, where he has worked in the GBS Global Center of Competency for Energy and Utilities and the GTS Global Center of Excellence for Energy and Utilities. He is a founding partner and President of MICAN Communications and before that was President of Comlink Systems Limited and Ensat Broadcast Services, Inc., both divisions of Cygnal Technologies Corporation (CYN: TSX). Martin served on the Board of Directors for TeraGo Inc (TGO: TSX) and on the Board of Directors for Avante Logixx Inc. (XX: TSX.V). He has served as a Member, SCC ISO-IEC JTC 1/SC-41 – Internet of Things and related technologies, ISO – International Organization for Standardization, and as a member of the NIST SP 500-325 Fog Computing Conceptual Model, National Institute of Standards and Technology. He served on the Board of Governors of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) [now OntarioTech University] and on the Board of Advisers of five different Colleges in Ontario. For 16 years he served on the Board of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), Toronto Section. He holds three master’s degrees, in business (MBA), communication (MA), and education (MEd). As well, he has three undergraduate diplomas and five certifications in business, computer programming, internetworking, project management, media, photography, and communication technology. He has completed over 20 next generation MOOC continuous education in IoT, Cloud, AI and Cognitive systems, Blockchain, Agile, Big Data, Design Thinking, Security, Indigenous Canada awareness, and more.