Adjusting to Change

Adjusting to Change

We have always lived in a time of change. New inventions, altering circumstances such as a corporate take over, how proposals are presented, a new boss, a new system etc. And change is even greater today with COVID than it has ever been. So how do we effectively and efficient react to change? How do we make it work for us instead of against us?

The answer in my mind is very simple and could not have been better expressed than by African American community activist and historian Bertha Calloway. She exclaimed “We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.” I love this. And it is so true.

When we look today, especially now, we have no control over COVID, over how we write or present proposals, what software we use, what process our boss wants us to undertake etc. We cannot direct these just like Bertha notes that we cannot direct the wind, but what we can do is adjust our sails or our way of doing things. Here are three quick “sail adjustments” that you might want to consider:

  1. Take a “can do” approach. When someone says that asset cannot be sold, it is sacred to our organization or a prospect says the budget is less… rather than gripe and complain about what you cannot control, find a way to may things work. That might be finding other assets that can achieve the same the goal or objective. You can always find alternate ways to achieve a goal if you are positive about it. And if it is about budgets, do what you can with the budget to achieve the best results possible for the prospect. If you cannot deliver results for that budget amount, provide alternate solutions outside your organization. You may lose the short-term sale, but you will gain trust (sounds like last week’s TMC) and the long-term business.
  2. When a strategy or approach changes within your organization, embrace it and adjust your approach to fit it. I remember when I was working for the Flames Radio Broadcast. A new broadcast station bought the rights. They wanted to switch from customized sales programs to stock sales proposals. I tried to work in the system and alter / fine tune the stock proposals the best I could to meet prospect needs and sometimes it worked out OK (to my surprise). But I did not believe in selling stock packages for large scale sponsorships. So, I adjusted my sails and set out on my own. I left and started the Partnership Group – Sponsorship Specialists®  to serve clients and help them generate better ROI on their sponsorship programs, whether they were buying or selling.
  3. When COVID struck, I was grounded. For a guy who travels 150+ days a year to meet clients face to face and deliver results, it has been different. I have not boarded a plane in almost 5 months. I could not control the effects of COVID, but I could adjust my sails. We have been delivering more online workshops as well as more online and phone consulting and coaching. As well, later this fall you will see the launch of several new products and services that we will offer to our clients. The re-adjustment of our sails due to COVID will result in more cost effective and unique opportunities for our clients. Stay tunes for more!

So, stop worrying about the wind… those things you cannot change. Figure out the adjustment of your sails and start tacking in a new direction! Please remember to stay HIPS! (Healthy, Isolate when possible, Physical distancing from others and Safe!)

© 2020 All rights reserved.


  1. Hi Brent,
    Great read as always! I couldn’t agree more that now, more than ever, our industry has to learn to adapt to change in order to move forward and succeed.
    I’d be curious to get your thoughts on how this relates to working with individuals of clients or brands? In terms of adapting ones speech, body language, etc to adapt to that of your client, colleague, or prospect? I have had to adjust my outlook and behaviour at times to compensate for the sake of a project, task, event etc.
    Thanks, as always!

    • Josh,

      Thanks for the feedback. I believe you always need to adapt to situation. If you are dealing with an A Type person, the preference would be for me to use my A Type personality. If I am meeting with a prospect on Bay Street in Toronto in the financial district I would probably dress to match them… in a suit. If I was working with a prospect in the agricultural equipment business in Gravenhurst I would probably not wear a suit. If I know someone prefers to have phone calls and not emails or texts, even if I hate phone calls, I would use the phone for them. Adaptation is very important. Mirroring body language is just another of the examples and important to do.

      That all said, I would never compromise my integrity or standards. So if I don’t drink coffee and they drank a ton of coffee… I would not adapt. (I may have done so in the my early years though.) I don’t drink alcohol. So I would not adapt and drink at an event just to “fit in”. I would be the “designated driver”.

      So adapt to the environment without having to compromise your standards, your integrity or ethics.

      • Thanks Brent!
        Several valid points. Adapting and adjusting to clients is key and I believe it shows an element of respect that you have for your client, to adjust for them.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share This