Friday, August 23, 2013

The Art of Oprah's 'Pivot'

I try not to quote Oprah often. She does what works for her- and there is no doubt that it works well. This said, Oprah's life and my life are two different things. What she wants, does and how she operates isn't for everyone. In fact, I never recommend modeling your life after what Oprah does. It isn't realistic and you're setting yourself up for failure. You have to be you!

I will, however, talk about the art of Oprah's Pivot. So, what is Pivot anyway? Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup, coined the term pivot. This term means to change the direction of a company (essentially to avoid disaster) without alerting employees or clients.

The Oprah Pivot: Here is what she said. “Let me just say, we have made the pivot,” Winfrey said today on “Good Morning America.” “It’s been really an exciting challenge and I am really so happy to announce to the world, ‘We have made the pivot.’”

Here is what really happened: Oprah was losing her ratings. Her almighty show was on the brink of cancellation. She was left with three choices. 1. Allow the show to be cancelled and accept public humiliation that she really didn't have viewership she was projecting. 2. Retire while she was on top and let her employees find work elsewhere why her brand sailed into the sunset. 3. Reinvent her company to meet the demands of the audience she did have. Basically, rebuild from the ground up without letting her audience know the company was in trouble and her show was failing. Oprah opted for option 3- the pivot!

Steps for A Successful Pivot:

1. Get your team on board without creating panic. In fact, create excitement and talk opportunity, opportunity, opportunity. People talk. Employees talk. No leaks can be risked as to what really is going on with your company. Even with top executive management. Stay positive and get that team of yours talking up the next move for the company!

2. Keep money coming in while you plan your pivot. You need money to make money. Don't pause one business model or business effort to focus on another. That is a disaster waiting to happen.

3. Hire someone who knows how to pivot to help you the first time around. There is no shaming in the pivot- again, look at Oprah. I can help you, other business consultants can help, write Oprah a letter- do whatever it is to find the one special person who can help you pivot. You will need support!

There is no shame in learning how to pivot. The world changes. Demographics change. Your company is going to change. If you know how to pivot then you can change while making money and developing a stronger brand.

I hope this blog leaves you inspired as you head into the weekend,


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