How to Make 2021 Your Greatest Year by Weaponizing Adversity



Before I share how to make 2021 your greatest year ever, let me first ask two questions:

#1 What do Uber, Airbnb, Warby Parker, Venmo, & Square all have in common?

All of these revolutionary companies started during the great recession between ’07-’09. 


#2 Why do so many companies and industries get disrupted by outsiders? 

Because they believed what worked in the past will work today and what is working today will work tomorrow. Instead of innovating they remain in denial and become too protective of their old business model. 


The opposite of revolutionize is to be stubborn and being stubborn can be tragic to a business. When Blockbuster was in their heyday, their CEO suggested to the Blockbuster board that they should explore a subscription model similar to what a little startup company no one had heard of, called Netflix, was doing at the time. The board killed the idea because 12% of Blockbuster revenue came from late fees. How did that work out for Blockbuster? 


Weaponize Adversity 

Crisis creates opportunity. Adversity is a horrible thing to waste. I actually prefer a recession to a booming economy. It isn’t that any of my businesses do better in a recession, it is that my competition does worse. Right now, unlike any other time, your business has an incredible opportunity to lap your competitors. To totally crush them, gain more market share, and have the pick of the top talent. 


To survive beyond this pandemic, you can’t wait for the disrupter who is coming fast, you can’t be in denial of change, defending the way it was, the old guard; you have to be the one willing to blow it up, no matter how painful that is. 


In order to revolutionize, you must first imagine again, rethink, recreate, and transition from defense to offense. When you play defense, you play small, go into prevent mode, focusing only on cost cutting, and what can be eliminated. Playing defense stifles creativity. Defense sucks the life out of your leaders and causes a doom and gloom outlook. Playing offense inspires your team to imagine the building of an amazing future that they can be a part of creating—new solutions, innovative products and services, new revenue streams. This becomes their passion and obsession.   


A Great Exercise to Quickly Recover Revenue and Accelerate Future Growth

Here is a powerful exercise we use to help our clients and our own company focus on reinventing the future while still generating the necessary sales to get through the pandemic.

Screenshot At Dec 08 15 41 06, The DiJulius Group
This exercise requires a great deal of time with leaders from every part of your organization.


Column A: Do Now Sell Now – may seem obvious. However, when thoroughly examining all your current inventory of products and services, you can really get creative. For instance, when you package or bundle high margin offerings with low margin, increasing the overcall value and attractiveness to the customer, you can increase sales. 


Column B: STOP DOING – is critical to your survival and usually a blessing most businesses wished they would have done much sooner. You can’t chase every opportunity and need to say “No” to everything that is out of your sweet spot (easy to do + profitable). Easy to do means it has been (or can be) systemized and it requires very little tweaking—a rinse and repeat model. This may mean eliminating products and services that aren’t easy to do and profitable. This may mean losing, some call it firing, a percentage of your customers who aren’t easy to work with, high maintenance, and are not profitable. 


As Seth Godin said during his presentation at this years’ Customer Service Revolution, “Firing an unprofitable group of customers (with kindness and care) allows you to focus on your most profitable customers. You need to focus on customers with high lifetime value.” You can’t scale your operations or in some cases survive during these times by being all things to all people.


Column C: Do Now Sell Later – is where the magic happens. It is where the excitement starts, by figuring out how to totally disrupt yourself and the rest of your industry. What should you be developing now that will allow you to grow 10x faster, revolutionize your business model, and leave everyone else in your industry behind? 


The First Place you Start is with the One Question

What do you want your business to look like 10 years from now? Once you figure that out in specific vivid detail, you then figure out how to make it happen in the next 6-12 months as if your personal life (or whatever you hold most dear) depended on it.


For our column A “Do Now Sell Now,” The DiJulius Group immediately built a green room studio, so we didn’t have to interrupt Image4, The DiJulius Groupthe progress and momentum we had with our consulting clients, 

and we continued to provide keynote presentations for conferences that had to switch to virtual. The studio also allowed us not to interrupt our 2020 class of the Customer Xperience Executive Academy that typically meets every quarter in Cleveland.



For our column C “Do Now Sell Later,” what we have been working on since the pandemic started back in March and what we are most excited about, is our new customer experience brand called CX Coaching. This is something we have been wanting and needing to launch for over three years, however we have been so busy, we could never get to it. The pandemic gave us that opportunity. 

Image2, The DiJulius Group

The CX Coaching brand is where we are licensing The DiJulius Group’s methodology, the same one we use with the top brands allover the world. We are licensing entrepreneurs from all over  on this methodology so they can coach businesses in their market on how to elevate their customer & employee experience and help us scale the customer service revolution globally. 



Vuja De 

A key to reimagining is having Vuja De moments. Vuja De is the opposite of Déjà vu. Vuja De is seeing something familiar over and over again, through constant tinkering, experimenting, going down rabbit holes, until it just clicks—an evolution that turns into a revolution. Vuja De is when ideas collide, start debates, they flirt, and start mating with each other. The best way to create a Vuja De is through constantly consuming information and through collaboration. 


What are you Consuming?

I ask this question every week to all my leaders and customer experience consultants. What are you consuming in your area of expertise to make you smarter today than you were yesterday, to ensure you are the smartest person that does what you do? 


Image2, The DiJulius Group

Now more than ever we need to invest in ourselves and our future. What books and articles are you reading? What podcasts areyou listening to? What videos are you watching? What webinars are you attending? This is the #1 way you are going to innovate, reimagine yourself and your business. You should be spending a minimum of 2 hours per day consuming valuable inspiring information.


It is my job that no one on the planet consumes more CX per day than I do. I want to be known as the Joey Chestnut of customer experience. You have to know who Joey Chestnut is. He is the reigning 7x hot dog eating World Champion. Are you the Joey Chestnut in your area of expertise?


We’re at our Best when Things are at Their Worst 

In order to revolutionize, you must first reimagine, rethink, and recreate. Don’t be stubborn and defensive of your existing model. Don’t be Blockbuster, don’t be Blackberry or don’t have a Kodak moment. 


Let’s go make some history.
Stories they will talk about for decades,
that will be written about in the history books,
redefining the way things are currently being done.


About The Author

John DiJulius

John R. DiJulius is a best-selling author, consultant, keynote speaker and President of The DiJulius Group, the leading Customer experience consulting firm in the nation. He blogs on Customer experience trends and best practices.