Is Partnering for Recovery The Key to a Covid-19 Turnaround?

July 27, 2020
July 27, 2020 Joe Britto

Reading time: about 3 minutes.


You’ve heard the refrain, we’re all in this together; but what if we could do more than be in the pandemic together? What if we could get out of the pandemic together as well?

That’s what I’d like to explore in this week’s blog: partnering as a route to Covid-19 recovery.

Partnering for Recovery

In January 2020, Hong Kong’s Huanxi Media had a problem. Movie theatres were being closed, tickets were being refunded, and it had a movie to release. At the same time, ByteDance, a content platform, was facing increased demand for online entertainment in the midst of a lockdown that would sweep across the world.

In hindsight, the partnership seems obvious: Huanxi Media partnered with ByteDance to create an avenue for its movies while ByteDance gained new content to stream on its top video platforms. No movie theatres, no problem.

That example of partnering for recovery netted Huanxi Media nearly $91 million cash and caused a surge in its stock price.

Seeing the Challenge

Replicating a partnership like that in our own businesses may seem tough, but that’s only because of something I’ll call the expert mind. It’s the mindset that says I’ve been in this industry X years and my experience points to Y; or I’ve been in senior roles for X years and here’s what we should do; or my gut says X and my gut’s rarely wrong. All of those positions have a common starting point: a cherished idea.

Holding on to a cherished idea – an idea we’re so wedded to, we can’t see beyond it – also makes it impossible to see a chance when it appears. It’s like we can’t see the neon sign highlighting an alternative business model, because we hold onto the cherished idea that what we’re doing is the only thing that can be done.

Seeing the Opportunities

Instead, partnering for recovery needs genuine curiosity and flexibility of mind.

It’s the learning mindset of genuine curiosity that asks questions to push the boundaries of our thinking. It’s flexibility of mind that takes the answers springing from those questions and shapes them into an idea we can use.

Together, genuine curiosity and flexibility of mind help us see opportunities.

How might that work? Well, what if you have a large client list but coronavirus has shrunk demand for your product? A genuinely curious question is, what could I do with my client list other than use it to sell my products? Ask a question like that and you may get surprising answers. It might lead you to think, is there a company whose product is in demand that could use a broad, well established, client base?

Ask that question and flexibility of mind might suggest partnering with a non-competing but complementary company to sell their product to your customers. You create a revenue stream by taking a percentage of gross sales, and they have a route to market. You partner with a non-competitor, so post-pandemic you still have a client base. A year later, if all’s working well, you could even continue the partnership and revenue stream.

Recovering Together

See how it works?

Being willing to let go of cherished ideas, or our own hubris, can take us to some powerful places. It can save our business and other businesses too.

Partnering for recovery means living another of the six attributes: enterprise thinking. What we’re doing is redefining how we see the enterprise: not as just working in our own best interests; but as partners working together to help each other recover.

It’s a different mindset. And a different mindset is what we need if we’re going to make it out of this.

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What to dive deeper?

Check out The Six Attributes of a Leadership Mindset by Joe Britto

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