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NXT Gen Reflects on 2020 Lessons Learned

NXT Gen Reflects on 2020 Lessons Learned

Like many small, minority and women-owned businesses, 2020 left us feeling frustrated and stunned.  Before the end of the second quarter, the COVID-19 pandemic took its toll on the U.S. and in particular small and minority-owned businesses. From February to April 2020, the “active” number of small businesses in the U.S. dropped from 15 million to 11 million, a 22% decline. During that same timeframe, African American entrepreneurs experienced a disproportionate decline of 41% in their businesses.  Our business goal for 2020 became obvious – avoid being a declining 2020 statistic and focus our energy on transforming our overall business model.  Two things became clear to our business early in the year:  1) the business model of the past which naturally and effortlessly relied on traditional business, training and consulting interactions was no longer sustainable, and 2) the ability to survive and compete in this new era required a thoughtful, but quick pivot to a virtualized, digital support model with “pandemic-proof” training tools and resources.

Armed with three of our core values – Passion, Innovation and ResponsibilityNXT Gen addressed the challenge of a business model transformation.  Admittedly, we occasionally felt ill-equipped, ill-prepared and lacked the resources needed for transformation. Grants were evasive and revenue streams proved limited as our current and potential clients simultaneously experienced their own pandemic challenges. But as Mark Cuban once said, “Wherever there is change, wherever there is uncertainty, there is opportunity”.  

Headwinds aside, our approach shifted to seeking power-collaborations and high opportunity partnerships with companies with proven track records in delivering sustainable training and learning technology, particularly Artificial Intelligence (AI).  After several months of consulting and collaboration, NXT Gen has successfully partnered with TTEC, an industry leader to develop and deliver AI training and simulation technology.  Our digital partnership will allow our clients to experience practice tools which reinforce learning, provide consistent feedback, as well as personalized coaching in a digitally interactive environment. 

As we approach 2021 and beyond, our passion and mission will remain the same – “to maximize employee talent with creative, sustainable training solutions”.  NXT Gen’s commitments to our clients and community include:

  • Helping our clients and colleagues understand, assess and agree on “what does success look like” and how it can be achieved for their business.

 

  • Showing businesses how to extract and capitalize on the potential of people to create an organizational culture where talents, experiences and creativity are harnessed to maximize productivity.

 

  • Supporting our clients to strengthen their workforce and invest in the NXT Generation of leaders.

 

  • Guiding organizations to place value on diversity while creating real opportunities for inclusion and equality in the workplace.

 

  • Helping organizations consistently deliver better service, better outcomes and better quality of life for employees and customers served.

 

  • Partnering with organizations and minority and women-owned businesses to knowledge share and overcome barriers to build stronger communities.

 

Source: The National Bureau of Economic Research, Robert W. Fairlie, http://www.nber.org/papers/w27309, June 2020

 

 

 

Leading Through Crisis:  A Framework for COVID-19 and Future Challenges   (The New Normal)

Leading Through Crisis: A Framework for COVID-19 and Future Challenges (The New Normal)

 

COVID-19 is here and when it’s gone it will have changed the world as we know it. The change is everlasting and will transform the way we do business.  Every sector of our society including governments, businesses, hospitals and school systems have revolutionized how they work overnight.  Employees now work from home, collaboration technologies have replaced meeting rooms, the cloud is the new premise, and in many cases, students are being educated virtually at home. 

As a leader, have you stepped back to ensure that:

  • You are prepared for the continuation of a virtual workplace culture?
  • You and your staff are equipped with the mindset and resilience to handle the change permanently?
  • Are you ready and conducting coaching, feedback and performance management remotely, distance-based or virtually?

There are 6 key support elements that every leader should pay close attention to as you navigate through these unprecedented times:

  1. Change Management – Don’t ignore that your company or organization is experiencing change and that it will continue for months to come. Creating a strategic plan with tactical actions to achieve short, medium, and long-term goals are keys to success in this environment. Additionally, planning for the future should include finding new techniques and tools to help improve job performance and productivity.
  2. Empathic Leadership – As a leader, do you understand how you and your teams have been affected by change? Pride should become secondary to humanity. Leaders must find ways to balance productivity with decency.  We call it H.E.A.R.T. ( Here, Engage, Ask, Respond and Take Action).
  3. Emotional Intelligence and mental resilience – Leaders must manage differently. The office is now beyond the walls and managing a virtual team requires a different psychological approach.  You and your team will experience highs and lows and need to focus on incorporating time into your daily schedule to step back and reflect on how to manage emotional change, burnout and the isolation that may come with working remotely.  Encouraging your team to set-aside time to reflect and celebrate small successes is an essential best practice of leading in this new environment.  And, recognize that your team becomes a mirror of your actions and behaviors.  So, how you cope with stress either positively or negatively will be reflected in your team’s approach and behavior to stress management.
  4. Relationship Building – The art of building relationships with superiors, peers and team members, while seeing them less in-person is essential for today’s leaders and their teams. Virtual networking is more vital than ever.
  5. Business Preparedness – You may never experience another pandemic in your lifetime. Yet challenging situations will occur.  Using continuity checklists and protocols along with practice drills will help ensure you are ever-ready for rapid change.
  6. Company Culture – Your culture has changed. You may not realize it.  It has. Have you defined the new post COVID-19 culture versus having it define you?

 

NXT Generation guides and supports organizations through the change that comes with the change.  It starts with an assessment of your current environment.  Based on our findings you are provided with strategic and tactical measures to achieve your ideal state.  NXT Generation can support you with digital training and assist you through the transition to your new normalcy.  For more information on how our company can help you, email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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