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It’s Getting Hot in Here

By Joey Havens

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CeCe and I are sitting outside next to the fireplace, entertaining some close friends pre-social distancing. It’s pretty chilly tonight with a strong north wind so I have the fireplace roaring. In my feeble attempt to dress a little hip, tonight, I reached on my top shelf of shoes and pulled out my retro Cole Haan boots. 

I love the look of these boots, although I rarely wear them as they were not exactly made for comfort. Of course, as CeCe would tell you, I have had these for at least 10 years. Ha! However, they are perfect for tonight, just a little walk out to the fireplace, prop them up on the brick hearth and enjoy. Life is good. 

I am enjoying hearing CeCe and our guests carry the conversation until I hear my name, “Joey, what is happening to your boots?” Looking down, I see exactly what you see in this picture. The soles of my boots got so hot they have separated and are now flapping around as I pull my feet down. Now my night full of contentment is being interrupted by the laughter of CeCe, and her two friends, Bailey and Olivia. Is it really that funny? I guess you could say I was too close to the fire. I melted the soles right off my boots.  

Now, I will own that contributing to this dilemma is the age of the boots — no one else had a sole problem. My old boots were clearly not up to the task.

With COVID-19 and the upending of our economic system, we have a roaring fire going in our profession. How many of us have a mindset similar to mine with these boots — sitting back loving our legacy business model, processes and services?

As the COVID-19 fire is roaring, our clients have urgent and changing needs. Clients are changing priorities, cash flow is declining and some may be disappearing. Are we having these conversations with them? Are we bringing them to anticipatory solutions to manage these changes?

What about our firms? Has our legacy thinking left us with processes that are not designed for remote working? How skilled are our partners and managers at managing a remote workforce? How skilled is our team at collaborating on our client’s changing needs and providing anticipatory services?

A few thoughts on changing the look of our boots:

  • Moving focus from hours to results and outcomes
  • Flexibility to be creative on how and when work happens
  • Disciplined and frequent communications 
  • Intentional sense of belonging to provide safety to challenge the status quo 
  • Training to schedule blocks of 50 minutes for focus time
  • Client communications using face to face remote technology
  • Team collaboration on new services to meet changing market needs 

Don’t get caught in soles that are melting away and making it difficult to respond to this monumental shift in business and client needs. My boots were too damaged to repair and CeCe refused to even discuss it. Let’s move fast and make sure we are anticipatory for our clients and proactive on the changes we need to make in our firms and business model to be successful in the future. We have a new norm. And retro boots aren’t built to survive it.

A Sign of Panic

This is Temporary