It’s that time of year again to reflect on all that has happened, as well as, look forward to next year’s opportunities. My reflection is full of interesting events and outcomes, with a surplus of stories bounded from personal and professional experiences.
Experiences that were joyful, difficult, and packed with learning. Each one brought a need to change direction or strategy – essentially, pivot.
When people use the term ‘pivot’, it is used mostly in a conversation of a startup company. It is commonplace for a startup company to have to make a ‘pivot’ in their formative days as a business.
For myself, I learned about how to pivot when my junior high school basketball coach taught me the importance of it being a team player.
I was not the best dribbler on the team, but I could shoot. The problem was after my first few successful shot attempts, teams would quickly collapse on me and the opportunity for a shot was lost.
Coach took me aside during a practice and we worked extensively on my pivot. Why? If a team is collapsing on me, I needed to use my foot as a pivot point to locate someone else on the team who could have a better chance at a shot. It was for me to find that person or take a shot.
Professionally, 2018 was a big pivot for me. Leveraging 25 years in technology and almost 15 years in a real estate brokerage, I started a technology consulting company and then partnered with the WAV Group. With Victor, Marilyn, and Kevin, there is a team where we can pivot and pass the ball to fulfill the needs of any company.
It is here that I enjoy working with brokerages who are for the most part asking us to be part of their team to design, plan or execute a strategy, essentially to pivot.
I have learned that these pivots are commonplace in every company.
When assisting companies who are not in real estate, the concepts they use to adapt & change within their markets are eerily similar.
A company in the medical software field asked me to do an assessment on their development team. The outcome of the assessment was an overhaul in their development practices. The result yielded better and faster product enhancement to their SaaS service.
Today’s challenge is the state of the real estate market. Over the last 30 days, there have been more stories on how the market has stalled or the conjecture of another market downturn.
Two articles written at the end of September (here and here) were shaped by the oncoming change. Signs of weakness in the number of units sold and the increase in the average home price was already present in the data.
The other reason for writing the article was to craft a budget for a client who was considering a transformation of their technology.
When you add the prospect of a changing market and exploring technology expenses, there is a cause for a pivot. Change the game and take a deeper dive into your business finances. There are plenty of opportunities to help weather a market correction.
As a parent, nothing gives you more joy than seeing your kids’ accomplishments. Our eldest son recently received his doctorate in biochemistry, Ryan Gumpper, Ph.D. His academic life has been full of pivots and it has swiveled early into a professional career.
Doctor Gumpper – I like saying that – fist entered college on a music scholarship to play the double bass. It only took a semester with a biased orchestra professor for him to figure out that he needed to do something else.
That something else was to pivot and become a vocal major. In doing so, he was able to retain his scholarship.
After graduating in four years with a music education degree, his desire to go into the teaching profession was met with little enthusiasm.
During his last semester, his vocal professor mentioned that he might want to consider medical school. He had done very well on vocal anatomy exams and she knew he wasn’t interested in becoming a music educator as well. Another pivot.
Back to school for the young man to take the math and sciences that were not part of a music major. This is where he found out he really liked chemistry. Two more years of school and a second undergrad degree in chemistry. Next step, naturally was to attend grad school.
Ryan’s first year and a half found him in a lab researching and writing papers in crystallography of proteins from DNA. I think – LOL.
It was at this time that his Professor Instructor (PI) notified all the graduate students that he was moving the lab from Ryan’s university to a school in Texas. Some 1300 miles away. Ryan was expected to pick up and move with the PI.
After much discussion, Ryan decided to stay at his university. He found a different PI to accept him into his lab, but it meant starting from scratch. Another pivot.
Fours later with a doctorate in biochemistry, the kid has pivoted again. His research required him to do 24-hour data collections on his experiments. Over the course of time, he found ways to use technology in his data analysis.
He started to like the data analysis part of his research and was very good at it. This led him to begin a self-taught regiment to become more fluent in software programming, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning. Over the last year, if he wasn’t in the lab or publishing papers, he was learning to become a data scientist. Within a week of graduating, he is now working as a data consultant.
For me – pivoting is continuous. Pivoting is about being adaptable and flexible to the experiences you encounter as you go through life. Experiences can be monumental or slight, but ever change the way you think. The days of being hardcore steadfast or set in your ways is old school. Open up and use your critical thinking powers to find your next pivot.
Take one step, plant the foot to the ground, and find the next opening for an improvement in your life and business.
Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday and a 2019 filled with successful pivots!
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