During this crisis period filled with uncertainty and disruption, you might pause, step back and turn lemons into lemonade. There probably isn’t much else you can do. If we at SAMC could help you now, it would be to urge you to take some time to use Innovation Games® to bring those big, new ideas to the forefront of your thinking about yourself, your business and your future. In fact, Andy and I recently did an On The Brink podcast about how Innovation Games are a very effective way to not only help you look into the future and rethink where your organization is going, but also figure out how to get there. You can listen to it here.
We often tell our clients that if they need to reignite their business or change their market strategy or create a new business model, they should have a crisis or create one. Well, with the COVID-19 pandemic upon us, the crisis is here, and change is all around us. So what can you do individually and as a business to adapt?
First, don’t panic. Don’t be the proverbial deer in headlights. By being willing to change in big ways and small, you are doing something good to help others and protect yourself. It is ok.
Next, how do you help your folks respond so they too know it is ok? This is a time for exceptional, emotionally intelligent leadership. Keep it simple. You need to lead so others trust your judgments and want to follow you. No one knows exactly what to do right now, so it is a time to learn how to deal with an unknown crisis together.
At SAMC, we are rather passionate about the power of Blue Ocean Strategic thinking. In fact, I recently spoke to the Pennsylvania Petroleum Association on Blue Ocean Strategy, and I was reminded how the theory, methods and tools of this unique business growth approach are so timely for an industry like this. On the one hand, consumers expect vendors to provide them with the services they need when they need them, not when vendors can deliver their home fuel or when fuel trucks can re-fill gas station tanks. On the other hand, the petroleum industry has collapsed over the past decade, shrinking from 12,000 distributors to less than 4,000. Clearly, this consolidation reflects the changing nature of the fuel delivery industry.
But it also reflects the trends that are coming next. WaWa is a perfect example: a gas station with high quality food that also sells gasoline. This dual-service model has enabled WaWa to outsell 7-Eleven stores and even McDonald's. Its secret? WaWa realized that people want quality food fast, but don't necessarily need a drive-up or a place to sit down to eat. By redesigning their operations, WaWa's leadership found their Blue Ocean Strategy and out-performed the rest of the pack, which were still competing over having the best gas prices in the right locations.
What the oil and gas industry is discovering: cars are going to be electric or hybrids, now or soon