COVID-19 (Corona Virus), You Ruined My 2020 Goals


This was going to be my year!

Author: Dave “Dr. Dave” Cornelius, DM

On Wednesday, March 3, 2020, I drove from a client in Phoenix to my home in Tucson, AZ to attend an entrepreneur event at the University of Arizona.  I did not feel well so I decided not to attend.  That night I got the chills, body aches, fever, and the works – the flu.  In my mind, I said, this can’t be because I took the flu shot and when I take the flu shot I do not get the flu.

I called my client the next day to let them know that I was out for the rest of the week and will be back on Monday.  I felt better by Sunday as the chills and body ache went away but had a cough that took by breath away.  My client gave me permission to work remotely for the rest of the week.  The following week they told me that everyone will be working remotely, and the Phoenix office will be close temporarily.

I had big plans for 2020, which was to pay off some debt and experience financial freedom, while launching a startup company.  I know this may sound like an oxymoron -- get out of debt and launch a startup company. I was about to sign a contract with my client that would have kept revenue flowing through Q1 of 2021.  Perhaps this is also your story!

We are in a Turbulent, Uncertain, Novel, and Ambiguous (TUNA) season.  I enjoy fresh tuna but not when it is turning my world upside down.  The COVID-19 pandemic is certainly novel in our lifetime and created turbulence, uncertainty, and ambiguity for our lives and businesses.  I am asking myself; how do I survive this TUNA mess and get back to my 2020 plans.  We have health crisis, social justice challenges, financial crisis, and political chaos in the United States and around the world.  I am sure many others are having the same conversations and worries.

I found a few articles on Scenario-based planning that may help with my TUNA dilemma, as my plans prior to COVID-19 is now nuked.  I turned to the concept and practice of Design Thinking Strategy to help me begin to visualize what the choices are in this new world.

  1. Identify the strategic problem (what is blocking us from achieving our aspirations?)
  2. Frame a question (turn the problem into a question; How might we …)
  3. Generate strategic possibilities ()
  4. Ask, what would have to be true
  5. Identify barriers (What is most uncertain to you)
  6. Test to learn (research, prototypes, design tests)
  7. Make a choice
    1. Strategic choice cascade:
  8. Winning aspiration
  9. Where to play?
  10. How to win?
  11. What are the capabilities?
  12. Management systems

Using the Design Thinking Strategy framework I can define a path forward for my current situation.

Strategic Problem: COVID-19 disrupted economic flow for trainers and coaches

Question: How might we train and coach clients virtually and retain a competitive rate?

Possibilities: Use Zoom meeting with PowerPoint; Create on-demand stand-alone courses

What would have to be true: Clients are open to virtual training and coaching.

Identify barriers: Connect with decision makers; Digital course development platform;

Test to Learn: Work with a local Meetup group to test hypothesis; Try a membership model; Offer free options;

Make a choice (Strategic Choice Cascade):

  • Winning Aspiration: The primary source for immersive learning experiences for product development teams
  • Where to Play: United States and Canada
  • How to Win: Price sensitivity; Best customer service; frictionless customer experience
  • Capabilities: Ability to create digital content with voice overs; Develop digital courses
  • Systems: Learning Management System with e-commerce capabilities

Evaluating my options using sticky notes, marker pen, and a wall really helped to get my concerns out of my head and made the opportunity visible.  I feel less stressed because I am able to build a story that may guide me out my current TUNA experience. We need tools and systems to help us innovate through challenging times.

Ask Dr. Dave about Design Thinking Strategy.  Contact us for coaching, training and consulting services to help you achieve awesomeness.

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