We will all remember 2020 as the “unexpected” year.
A year that began with extreme optimism, which was abruptly met with total chaos, and now exhibits signs of this centuries ‘roaring 20’s’.
It’s funny, although so very predictable, how history tends to repeat itself.
That is not to say that as a global community we are out of the woods yet, but we can definitely see the finish line of this very unique and challenging period.
When we consider many historical events of similar proportions, hindsight would suggest that there are many invaluable lessons to be learnt, we just have to find them
Let me share three that have made an impact on me.
Lesson One – Change is inevitable
One of the most common phrases that came out of 2020 was ‘pivot’.
There was a huge emphasis on ‘re-inventing’ yourself in terms of business, establishing alternate revenue streams and using technology to replace what will now be referred to as ‘old’ or ‘pre-Covid’ practices.
Being proficient at adopting new technologies will now be a compulsory resume addition, viewed as an integral part of any future career ‘pre-requisite’.
I can already imagine upcoming job interviews with questions such as, ‘in your past role, describe a new way of doing things or new initiatives you implemented to adapt to the new Covid-19 environment?’
Our industry was well-positioned and quickly adopted a new way of doing business.
In fact, many of the tools were already in place pre-Covid-19; the pandemic simply brought forward the implementation of them.
And with that, new workplace efficiencies introduced will remain and become the new normal.
Lesson Two – ‘It’s only when the tide goes out that you learn who has been swimming naked’ – Warren Buffet
By interpretation, the above quote explains that superficially, things may look rosy on the surface, however, if a company is exceedingly leveraged in anticipation of an over-optimistic belief of continual uninterrupted economic growth i.e. ‘the party will never end,’ the high-risk position will leave that company exposed. That is, they will find themselves ‘swimming naked’ as Warren Buffet has famously quoted.
To prevent being ‘caught naked’ I’ve always held the belief that having your ‘house in order’ is a sound strategy for every business owner.
Not referencing your end of life, but in the event of major disruption, much like the associated pains of Covid-19.
This year, the government stepped in to help soften the financial blows many businesses experienced. That will not always be the case, in fact it’s to the contrary.
You must therefore plan and have a ‘disaster management’ strategy whenever making a decision to take on significant debt or increased exposure to risk.
Always evaluate the ‘downside’ to ensure you are not ‘gambling the farm’ and build up cash reserves to see you through the tough times.
Lesson Three – Optimism is the best strategy
When it came to our industry, this was a big one.
A really big one.
Whilst the world seemed to simply ‘stop’, it was individuals with optimism and ‘I’m just going to keep on doing’ attitudes that had the breakthroughs.
They instinctively knew that this was temporary and saw the ‘unexpected’ disruption as an opportunity to connect and provide value through those connections.
And we all know it, ‘tough times don’t last, tough people, do.’
Opportunities were created from nothing.
The act of doing and staying connected with clients kept feeding future momentum, even though no immediate financial rewards were guaranteed.
It reminded many within the industry that our profession is not and will likely never be underpinned by new selling strategies or technology platforms.
Our journey through Covid-19 clearly reinforced that having a genuine interest in building meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships was the strategy that separated those that flourished and those that didn’t during the pandemic.
These optimistic individuals appreciated the value of ‘playing the long game’ and implemented a strategy for developing strong relationships without the expectation of immediate return.
Our industry armed with these and many more lessons the past year will enter this one with a set of fresh eyes and a readiness to take on the evolved landscape.
More and more agents and property managers will take the opportunity to re-evaluate their career goals and seek out greater growth opportunities and emerge from 2020 much stronger, resilient and have a greater appreciation for the industry we get to call ours.