When the pandemic hit, the world was literally forced into a global shutdown. No one knew how long it would last, what the impacts would be, or if our family and friends would make it through alive. The one thing we did know was that the best way we could make it through as a company would be by working together, as leaders to our customers, and families. We knew this would be a defining time when we’d find out what we’re really made of at EarthKind, and as a human family.
This was not anything new for us. Just two years earlier, we’d gone through a major supply chain crisis. About 80% of revenues were lost as a result, and there was virtually nothing in reserve for us to draw from this time, other than our resilience, values, and entrepreneurial DNA.
We took quick action with a KISS 4-step plan to hunker down and weather whatever would come our way, without losing the values that make us who we are: faith, compassion, innovation, and excellence.
Step 1: We Reset The Goals
Goals are about the results you want to achieve. Systems are about the process that leads to those results. So, as a company, we set three new goals and committed to them with our whole hearts and souls. The first goal was to do whatever was needed to keep everyone safe; the second goal was to do whatever was needed to keep the business healthy, and the third goal was to practice excellence in our systems of communications.
With constantly changing public health guidance, limited capacity in the manufacturing plant, a remote office staff, retailers who’d shut down, and school children at home, It wasn’t easy. Yet, we committed, we stayed realistic, and we met our new goals as the team depended on one another.
Step 2: We Reimagined
I’ve come to see a crisis as an opportunity, snd this was our opportunity to be resourceful. A spending freeze (part of doing whatever is needed to keep the business healthy), meant we couldn’t turn to consultants or outsource any of the workloads. Instead, we utilized our collective genius. As a result, new skills were developed, new relationships were born, and a new confidence was sparked. The big defining theme was to be ‘bold’ in our actions and to exercise our faith in one another and our North Star no matter what came our way.
Our North Star is our purpose: We imagine a world in harmony, with nature and one another, in all the places we live work play, and learn.
Every step forward seemed full of serendipity, as we continually received validation that we were on the right track with identity-based habits and decision-making.
Step 3: We Took Action To Make It Seen
The third step was to make it seen. Each team spent time leveraging the Naturally Smarter® legacy of our people and products into visible and impressive value-ads for our customers. By defining the who, what, when, and how of each objective, we become more aligned than ever before and our brains began to anticipate the reward.
We started a Covid Recovery Team and held weekly meetings to ‘see’ us through the crisis. The Sales Team reimagined the trade show experience, creating a ‘trade show in a box’ and reaching out to customers and prospects so they could ‘see’ our plan in action despite everyone else giving them excuses. Once customers saw it, revenues grew without trade show expense, or travel required.
The R & D Team performed efficacy trials. Validating our plant-based moth repellent and cockroach deterrent was a game-changer; again all physical proof we could ‘show‘ customers.
The team was proud too, and so were their families. Seeing is believing.
Step 4: Reward The Progress
The last step was to measure the three goals at every meeting, using a fast feedback loop. Each meeting started with, “How are you? How is your family?” After that, each team member shared the ‘one thing’ they need to focus on that day to make progress toward the goal, and we kept it real because after all, we are human beings. Finally, in honor of excellence, the team has the floor to give a kind kudos, or a candid carefrontation if needed. This practice has helped build and strengthen our collective skillset for self-management, problem-solving, project management, creativity, resilience, and EQ. All necessary skills for the 21st century.
On the bright side of this global and ugly mess we’ll never, ever forget, the pandemic gave us the gift of a world more in line with the values we work from, and the purpose we exist for. And for that, we’re thankful, grateful, and pretty satisfied.