Turning COVID Challenges into Innovation

Oct 1, 2020

As businesspeople we inherently like to go places, meet people, create wealth and . . . be in control. But how do we deal with this new
level of “out-of-control”?

At Tobin & Company, we’re making adjustments that may
be helpful to you.


With everyone working from home, Zoom has been our go-to meeting platform since March. We’ve found virtual meetings to be a huge success. Many of us work in different regions so in each session we take time to discuss personal experiences around topical subjects. When we get down to business everyone contributes more to the team because each meeting is focused on reporting, questions and ideas. Then each person works independently, or collaboratively, as desired without a helicopter boss (that’s me). We’re even using ZOOM to draft documents via a point person who captures ideas while everyone contributes to their area of focus.
Result: Time efficiency, better communication and a richer virtual work environment thanks to geographical diversity.


Face-to-face is pretty much required for meaningful networking. If it’s acceptable for all involved, we meet in one of the few restaurants open in Uptown Charlotte. Depending on the season we sit outside in the open air, use social distancing and wear masks until we are seated to eat. When the weather gets too cold for outside-dining we will continue to use these protocols but will seek-out eateries with good indoor air circulation. Our clients, suppliers and friends enjoy these meetings because they provide a human element that can be difficult to attain during a pandemic.

Result: Several new business projects, maintaining awareness with important referral sources and lifting the moods of our guests, and us.

Overnight swing

From difficulty finding talent, due to near-full employment, to an abundance of highly qualified candidates in a time
of high unemployment.

Result: We’ve hired more talent to meet growing business demand and to fulfill the objectives of our internship program. We have a richer work environment due to human and geographical diversity.

Sharing Ideas

Everyone appreciates great ideas that save them work and time. I call them “efficiency gems.” During this unusual time, we’ve trained ourselves to listen, and observe differently in order to find more gems to share. Now, when I see a colleague solving a problem that another colleague might use, I pass the idea on or even introduce these colleagues via email.

Result: Several colleagues and clients have texted, emailed or called to tell us how much they appreciate the gesture. It’s one more way we maintain visibility when many people are distracted with the burdens of work and personal life during COVID.

The best way to be successful through this atypical time is to work together. If you’ve found innovative ways of adjusting to doing business during COVID-19, I’d like to hear them. Email me at Tobin@tobinandco.com with the subject line: “Working with COVID.” Many of the changes we’ve made are here to stay so doesn’t it make sense to share ideas?

Warm regards,
Justine Tobin
(704) 334-2772

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