Time to Pivot Again – Moving Management Beyond COVID-19 Survival by Richard A. Berkowitz, JD,CPA

Posted on January 26, 2021 by Richard Berkowitz

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses to quickly adapt in extraordinary ways. Today, as vaccinations begin to roll out across the country, companies must again prepare to acclimate to a future business environment when the pandemic is no longer paramount. As simple as it may seem to assume that we will all return to “business as usual,” the fact is that the coronavirus has forever changed our organizations, our people, how we work, how we lead and how we continue to serve our customers and clients. There is no going backward. Rather, we must begin preparing today for the next big pivot.

In the early days of the pandemic and government-mandated business closings, many companies struggled to understand the severity and longevity of the virus’s impact on their operations and their people. Others thrived, capitalizing on opportunities and leveraging their competitive advantages. The real challenge came down to how effective those businesses could be at adapting to market changes.

There is no doubt that agility, innovation and responsiveness were critical elements to survival. However, empathy and emotional intelligence were the essential skills executives had to master to address employees’ fears and help them embrace and adapt to organizational and environmental changes.

Much research has found that empathy helps to strengthen relationships and build consensus. When leaders take the time to listen and understand the individual perspectives of their employees and share their emotions and vulnerabilities, they can bring calm and consistency to an otherwise chaotic and uncertain stage of a crisis. They can essentially lead a rallying cry that keeps the organization inspired and motivated to keep moving forward. Nevertheless, at a certain point, leadership needs to shift its focus from short-term maintenance and consensus building to longer-term performance and sustainability. This generally requires a keen focus on the company’s vision, its competitive advantages and execution on its long-term strategic plan.

While it may feel as though the pandemic has been a prolonged period of timeout, the fact is that the world has continued to turn, and companies have continued to innovate and forge forward. Your competition has not been sitting on the sidelines waiting for the virus to magically disappear. They have persevered and pressured their organizations to react accordingly. Many have adopted new processes and technologies that enable employees to enhance productivity and generate new streams of revenue. Others have reinvented their companies, altering supply chains, lowering prices after cutting costs, restructuring their labor and investing in their changing their business models.

As the focus of the pandemic now shifts from reactive survival mode to recovery, businesses must also shift their efforts from consensus-building sustainability to longer-term performance and growth. They must become proactive finding the pivot that can sustain them and fuel their ongoing success. This requires aggressiveness and the audacity to test and execute new strategies, forging ahead with an avalanche of activity intended to maintain competitiveness and recapture market share. Now is the time to use every means possible to motivate and inspire your team to find the pivot that will propel your business during this transition from a pandemic-possessed world to the next phase, whatever that may be.

About the Author: Richard A. Berkowitz, JD, CPA, is founding and executive chairman of Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors + CPAs and Provenance Wealth Advisors (PWA), where he provides business consulting, growth strategies and succession-planning consulting to entrepreneurs and companies. He can be reached at the firm’s Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., office at (954) 712-7000 or via email at