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During these uncertain times, one thing that can reduce anxiety and provide comfort is identifying and sticking to your core beliefs, focusing on what you do best. 

For many in the business world, this is thought of as our “bread and butter.”  Given the spike in home baking these days, I thought this was the perfect metaphor for my message: focus on developing your key ingredients to deliver on your core capabilities.  Just as building a strong foundation makes for a stronger house, high quality ingredients make for tastier, more nutritious bread.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, all of us at Team GSG have made a conscious decision to focus on the positive, with a fervent belief that we will get through this together and that everything happens for a reason.  Sometimes the reason is immediately apparent to us, and other times it takes a while to be revealed.  For example, it was immediately clear that when the world stopped driving, the skies cleared, and it seemed like nature was sighing with relief from the reduction in pollution.  It took a bit longer for us to see that being forced to spend more time with our families and loved ones in more concentrated quarters without external stimulation was resulting in a better understanding of each other, our kids, our pets and our friends. 

Throughout the pandemic, it has been critical to focus on the bread and butter that drives your business.  Certainly there have been some instances where the opportunity to pivot, and develop new adaptive products and services, has resulted in innovations that have had a positive impact on our ability to cope with and address the impacts of the pandemic. For companies and individuals who are positioned well to deliver in these areas it is not only good business, but the right thing to do.

For many businesses though, GSG included, the best course of action is to dig in and make sure that your core capabilities are maintained so you can continue to deliver the goods and services your customers need. 

Here are five practices we’ve embraced to grow the ingredients for success:

  1. Invest in your employees. Training, professional development, steady compensation and career growth will keep your team focused on moving forward instead of worrying about the future.  Your employees are the flour in the bread that provides the foundation for nourishment.
  2. Stick to your motto and values as a company.  A mantra that communicates stability and a commitment to your employees and clients will empower your team to make decisions on their own that increase their productivity and give them a sense of control and autonomy.  At GSG, it’s “Do the right thing, and then do the next right thing.”   This is the water to your bread, that allows all the other ingredients to emulsify.
  3. Be consistent.  By focusing on your core products and services and rewarding consistency, your team will have a clear sense of expectations and they will know how to navigate complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity.  Just as the baking powder provides the chemical reaction needed to bond the other ingredients, the consistency you provide as an organization is what will bond your team together.
  4. Invest in your client relationships. Provide them with insights and regular touch points to let them know you are thinking about them without selling.  Your customers trust you for a reason.  Trust them enough to know that when they need you, they will call.  You get what you give.  This is the butter in the equation.  Without the butter, the bread may be nourishing but it won’t taste quite as good.  Everything’s better with butter!
  5. Have Fun!  From my perspective, this is the yeast in the dough that makes all the other ingredients come together.  If you have a genuine sense of wonder and curiosity, spiced with a good sense of humor and compassion, you can find a way to make things fun.  This keeps your cortisol levels down and gives your team the confidence that things will be OK. 

Just like bread and butter, we need each other to be our best.  Stick to what you’re good at, remember your employees are number one, and you’ll have plenty of bread to eat – and the butter will be the icing on the cake!

John Henning is the Chief Client Officer at Granite Solutions Groupe. He has over 35 years of leadership experience in the financial services and technology industries, and currently oversees all client account management, professional services, marketing strategy, business development and sales operations for GSG. To stay updated on the latest market news and insights, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn.