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It’s been a time of turmoil and of unprecedented uncertainty. Our personal and professional lives have been forced into realignment. We’re worried about the state of things — and why wouldn’t we be?
Here at CleverTap, we’ve faced many of the same challenges you have: staying connected while working from home, responding quickly to customer needs, monitoring changes in the market, and staying optimistic in the face of setbacks and extended shelter-in-place orders.
Throughout this experience, we’ve realized the power of mindset in keeping us connected as a team, aligned on our goals, and motivated to excel for our customers. Today we’re sharing the perspective we’ve been focused on as a team:
Worry, as a feeling, emanates from one raw emotion: fear. In the face of things we cannot control, fear is a normal reaction. But what’s different about the present state of the world is that the fear is unbounded.
Example: When you get a cold, you don’t have control of if/when you contracted that illness. But, your logic and experiences tell you that you will recover and you will get better. So you aren’t afraid; you just wait it out. This fear is based on what you know; it has boundaries.
Today’s fears don’t have these boundaries. Additionally, many of us don’t have the perspective or experience from which to pull for self-support, as the current level of fear and uncertainty is unlike anything we have experienced.
The market is on a roller coaster ride. CleverTap is shifting gears, adjusting plans, and trying to find our way. For many, this level of challenge can create a feeling that there is no “other side.” You can’t see the other side; all you see is the challenge before you.
As someone who has been through many different experiences of adversity—personally and professionally—I wanted to offer some perspective to this amazing, talented team. Because if we look at the current state of the world in its entirety, the situation is overwhelming and untenable.
Instead, let’s break it down in bite-sized chunks, add some perspective, and focus on what we can control instead of what we can’t.
We’re in an incredible-yet-complicated market category. Long before COVID-19 shook the world like a snow globe, the needs of our target customers were always evolving and changing. This constant shift in needs and requirements are the reasons we develop our platform using sprints, allowing the development team to stay agile and attuned to the needs of not only our current customers but also rising market trends.
Revisiting the history of marketing over the last 20 years, the need to stay flexible becomes self-evident: In the early 2000s, email was king. Then, text messaging. With the advent of smartphones, in-app notifications rose to the top. WhatsApp is now a critical need. And on and on we go.
Reframe: The needs of the market will always be in flux, and COVID-19 is another example of that. Part of CleverTap’s job moving forward is to step up and lead our customers and the market about what omnichannel marketing means now… at this moment in time. Tomorrow, the needs and requirements will likely shift again. As a leader, CleverTap will stay connected to these changes and act accordingly.
The second half of 2019 showcased a very exciting time for CleverTap. The plans were well thought out and grandiose, fueled by two rounds of venture capital funding, a solid business plan, and a vision for global expansion. Six regional teams supported by strong Centers of Excellence would carry the company to revenue and market share that was previously unattainable. The market was growing, and CleverTap was at the forefront. Aggressive hiring and large budgets would drive us to success.
But, as we are all now aware, the global situation of Q1 2020 has put those plans on hold for the foreseeable future.
Reframe: Working at an aggressive growth start-up requires an uncanny ability to shift… to constructively contend with rapid, turbulent change and emerge on the other side stronger and more focused.
To weather the storm, the CleverTap leadership team has taken a long look at a combination of things: the state of the market (both short-term and long-term), our product offering (not only in comparison to our direct and indirect competitors, but also to address the shifts in market need mentioned above), and the path required to not just survive the current market conditions, but to thrive long-term.
In searching for a way forward, leadership wasn’t looking for a way to force the current strategy into the present market conditions. Nor were they looking myopically at the challenges of COVID-19. What was required was not a small tweak to the plan, but a fundamental shift in the foundation of the original strategy.
In my 25 years in driving strategic marketing, communications, and brand for start-ups, I’ve learned one thing: start-up companies exist for only one reason—to die a miserable, slow death. The sole reason they survive, grow, and transform into market leaders is due to only one thing: the talent and tenacity of the team. Without the team, the company is merely comprised of stuff—products and services.
Reframe: You aren’t where you used to be, and you might not be where you want to be… but you are here. You are the lifeblood of CleverTap. You are the team.
Navigating a new path can be challenging, requiring acceptance of what you can control and a willingness to release what you can’t. You have to be water—strong enough to literally move mountains, flexible enough to twist through the tightest of crevices, gentle enough to soothe the human soul as a babbling brook or waterfall, and nurturing enough to quench the thirst of all those you encounter. All while continuing to travel… never stopping… having faith that it’s the journey that counts, not a guaranteed destination.
You have these abilities. How do I know? Because you are here.
Perhaps bestselling author Eckhart Tolle said it best: “If uncertainty is unacceptable to you, it turns into fear. If it is perfectly acceptable, it turns into increased aliveness, alertness, and creativity.”
Start-ups are a combination of sunlight and storm clouds—you’re walking quietly and calmly one moment, and facing hurricane winds the next. What defines success is how the team chooses to act when that storm comes.
Turn your worry into wonder.
Get curious. Get creative. Get wide-eyed. Recognize your personal power. As masters of our own destiny and the designated future of CleverTap, there is only one question that remains: will you shrink back from the uncertainty and allow fear to rule you, or will you rise up into the face of adversity with a clenched fist, refusing to allow uncertainty to control the outcome for you?
My fist is already in the air, joining our leadership team here at CleverTap: Sunil, Anand, Suresh, Supratim, Prashant, Vishal, and Almitra.
Join the journey.