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Chris DisaSenior Director

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Learning to Pivot

Learning to pivot has been a valuable skill I’ve developed over time. It has helped me embrace change in all facets of my life, from the boardroom to babysitting.

Babysitting my nephew has been both joyful and exhausting. He and I are first born children and we demonstrate some of the same qualities; we can be independent, structured, cautious, conscientious, and want to lead. However, at 3 years old, his sense of independence and structure can change on a dime. Successfully avoiding meltdowns has been due to a skill developed over 40 years around the sun: I’ve learned how to pivot.

From arts and crafts, to cars and trucks, to various episodes of Blippi, I have learned ways to keep him entertained.  As adults we learn change is inevitable, and embracing change and pivoting to the next can be difficult.  Most recently, the pandemic has taught us all how to change many aspects of our lives; hopefully for the better.

Professionally, learning to pivot has been instrumental in my success. After 15 years as an operator at various retailers, I changed course in my career and joined Alvarez and Marsal’s Consumer and Retail Group (CRG).

After years as an accomplished merchant, I was looking for an opportunity that allowed me to be impactful and continue to learn.  CRG’s unique talent combination of seasoned consultants and former executives fosters a culture that is built on entrepreneurship and a bias for action.  We like to say we can walk in your shoes because we’ve been in them.  The ability to solve problems in a complex and dynamic world through strategy and execution with this team has been incredibly rewarding.

While there are consistent patterns amongst clients in the consumer and retail space, understanding that customers’ tastes change, organizations operate differently, and corporate cultures vary is the backdrop to creating value and impact.  What solution is best for one client may not be for the other.  Some of my key tenants to change are:

  • Recognize when things don’t work
  • Its ok to fail, but try and fail fast
  • Let it go and keep it moving
  • Reflect and then try again
  • Attitude can be everything

Babysitting is a form of leadership with hopefully few failures.  As one of many amazing adults in my nephew’s life, I look forward to guiding him on the ability to pivot by embracing change and believing in yourself.

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