Pivoting in Basketball

One term used liberally in business (and especially during the COVID pandemic) is “pivoting.” It means turning—quickly, sharply. As in “turn on a dime.” Practically, it means a rapid change in strategy, product development, service offering, pricing models, etc. based on the fast pace of change in the market.

A pivot can be driven by a new competitor entering your market, the launch of a new technology, a governmental regulation, the loss of a key person, a crisis, or just a really good idea.

Examples of pivoting can be found in Bacardi redeploying some of its distilling and packaging expertise into hand sanitizer production. When Elon Musk of Tesla (et al) promised ventilators to California hospitals by using existing production facilities and machinery, he pivoted and produced faster than existing manufacturers. Zoom, the video conferencing tool, has become a household word for online communication, regardless of which brand you actually use (Google Meet, Go to Meeting, Skype, etc.), all in a pivot to provide what was needed by the market.

Many solid companies lose the inside track by failing to pivot. Nobody sees what’s coming. The swift win because they respond faster.

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