PIVOT...What the Heck Are They Talking About?
Anyone else notice that this popular word from back in the late 1700s has found a new life?
We know about the basketball player who pivots to protect the ball by shifting back and forth on foot, and soccer teams which use the term to describe the deepest midfielder who occupies the space between the defense and the midfielder lines. Then in business, pivot means a substantive change to one or more of the nine business model components, in addition to areas like customer segments, revenues, pricing, costs and more.
And for all you “Friends” fans, in one of the funniest scenes from this all-time favorite TV series, “Pivot!” is something Ross screams when he’s trying to move a couch up some stairs.
So pivots seem to be good things. Or maybe not.
In politics, could a pivot be defined as a move when the momentum just isn’t going your way and you need to remain true to your values to avoid losing your support? Or is a pivot in politics a strategy that solves a problem of importance for its stakeholders? Seems like either could be the case.
As with the presidential race, there seems to be plenty of pivoting on both sides of the campaign. Senator Harris pivoted away from her primary attacks on Joe Biden and began to be a team player, and she ended up as the VP candidate. The Trump team doesn’t seem to understand the word pivot, even as their polling and hopes of securing another term is now faltering even in those redder than red states.
This week, the Biden team seemed to pivot away from the parts of the platform adopted to bring the Bernie Sanders gang along with a Biden nomination—in terms of environmental commitments and tax policy—with the hopes the Sanders gang will understand that the move was necessary to benefit the whole. Then VP Pence stuck tightly to “the plan“ during the recent debate, leading some to believe that holding his foundation (right or wrong) is more important to him than preservation, aka winning.
Now. A pivot—such as in sports—can be an effective tool. In business, it’s a way to grow. But in politics ...not so good. It usually means there’s trouble in River City.
But in my opinion, one example of a positive pivot might be in CT. Without a gubernatorial race and the recent changes to the positive COVID-19 testing rates, pivoting might be the correct move. Southeastern CT is definitely under fire this week, with positive rates up near 3% while most of the rest of CT is just a hair more than 1%. This week the Governor announced his team is considering a potential pivot to allow municipalities the option of enacting local restrictions on community activities, in the effort to reduce the spread of this highly contagious virus. For months, the Governor has used the “one for all and all for one” strategy. In late summer, he modified that by providing local municipalities the ability to decide what type of “back to school” model fits their community best, but he stuck tight with his “one for all and all for one“ plan regarding sports, large events and bar openings.
But now, as southeastern CT is under siege, it’s looking like there’s going to be an option for local governments to call more of the shots about how to restore a safe and health community. While several weeks ago Danbury was under siege, it was localized to a small geographic area and the city was able to contain it quickly. Norwich, New London, Windham and other towns are almost at one week with increasing positive infection rates, causing them to return to remote learning to help contain the spread.
Rumblings are popping up through the media and business organizations that CT may soon experience another wave of large numbers of positive test results. Especially now that the colder weather is hitting us and residents might be getting too “comfortable,” mixing family, neighbors and close friends.
While it’s not surprising that CT would face a surge, and the situation isn’t one of values, moral foundations or long-held beliefs, pivoting seems to be the best way forward. And one of strength and leadership.
Maybe we should adopt the adage, “We’re only as strong as our weakest link.”
So let’s get to it.