The Secret To Making A LOT Of Progress In A VERY Short Period Of Time

Within 2 weeks of being shut down by the plague, Seattle restaurant owner, Eric Rivera, owner of Addo, shifted his entire business to pickup and delivery, using his own staff to make drop offs rather than Grubhub or Uber Eats, which take the lion’s share of the profit for those sale. Simultaneously, he revised his entire menu, creating food “bundles” that range from $9 to $105, included wine pairings to secure high-profit alcohol sales, designed a subscription service for 3-pack “heat and serve” meals clients can pre-order for the week and started a wine club. Then he organized and initiated a “pay it forward” $9 bowls of food customers can order to be delivered to homeless shelters – an initiative that sold over 1,000 bowls by March 17th, just weeks into the shutdowns. Then he launched an app that allows customers to order meals and pick up at a selected day and time – not just when they’re ready to eat to run a more efficient (profitable) operation by minimizing waste and reducing staffing needs. All this in 2 weeks.

In a 6-week period, starting during the shutdowns, my company shifted our big annual event from in-person to virtual, requiring us to renegotiate over 80 sponsor contracts, notify and move over 1,000 registered attendees, completely overhaul the speakers and agenda, A/V requirements, platform and speakers, revised the entire marketing website, sold ADDITIONAL tickets (registering roughly 3,500 more people) and sponsorships, created a series of commercials to play during the breaks, PRE-recorded all the sessions as a backup (and there were over 50), designed the vendor hall for all sponsors, re-wrote all the content and figured out how to ship the registration bags, swag, etc. to attendees. While THAT was going on, we had to revise our entire outbound marketing campaigns, messages, follow-up system and offers, get everyone working remote, create NEW campaigns for our clients and held over a dozen NEW webinars and content sessions. All DONE in 6 weeks.

I don’t tell you this to brag but to underscore a truth about success that NO ONE likes – it’s not achieved as a snail’s pace, plodding along doing step 1, step 2, step 3. This is particularly true in a crisis. It’s not neat and orderly. It’s (barely) controlled chaos, done with extreme urgency, fueled by a lot of stress, sleepless nights and caffeine. I see companies who have gone this entire year without a single change to how they do business, how they market themselves – not a single innovation, not a single new marketing initiative, not a single new offer, not a single effort to capitalize on the needs businesses are faced with right now. In IT, you should have been completely “switched on,” marketing, promoting and selling solutions to help businesses operate virtually – whatever that is for them.

A question I’m often asked is how I manage to get so much done. The answer is not comforting. At all. Essentially I wake up early every day and shove the proverbial “cabbage through a keyhole,” putting all sorts of ideas and plans into motion that are half baked and long before I’m prepared and ready to give them the attention they deserve, then hurry, hurry, hurry to get them done, chase things down and squeeze out every drop of productivity out of myself possible to get them DONE. I’m never doing one thing at a time, but multiple things, simultaneously, jumping from one to the next, getting done what’s needed to get done at the moment to keep the project rolling, but not enough to complete it. A giant, stressful, chaotic mess. All high performing CEOs run at that same pace. Work doesn’t end at 5:00 p.m. And that, my friends, is how progress is made fast.

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