Business coach promotes resiliency in Vail Valley Partnership presentation |

Business coach promotes resiliency in Vail Valley Partnership presentation

Pivoting to new directions takes strength, confidence

Business coach Kim Smith spoke to a relatively small, virtual group during a Vail Valley Partnership seminar on Feb. 25. Smith talked about finding solutions to work and life challenges.
Special to the Daily

The past year has forced most of us to pivot like ballet dancers during a performance. But how we pivot and keep our bearings can be tough.

Business coach Kim Smith presented “Strategies to Pivot and be Resilient in Times of Change” during a Feb. 25 seminar put on by the Vail Valley Partnership. Speaking to a relatively small, virtual group, Smith talked about finding solutions to work and life challenges. Beyond pivoting to new ways of living and working, Smith talked about maintaining focus while adapting to change.

“We’ve all had to make personal and business sacrifices,” Smith said, adding that it’s important to understand what we can and can’t control.

“The only thing we really get to choose is how we react,” Smith told the group.

While much of the world is out of our control, Smith said it’s important to understand where opportunities and solutions may be.

Support Local Journalism

Smith, who lives in Eagle, cited the Grand Avenue Grill in town as an example of a business that quickly adapted to changing times.

Grand Avenue co-owner Chris Ryan wasn’t at the seminar, but contacted by phone talked a bit about how the restaurant quickly changed its business.

Ryan said she, her business partner, her brother and her boyfriend knocked out a pair of windows in just a couple of days to set up a drive-through window on the north side of the building. That led to a walk-up window for those who might want to stay on the restaurant’s patio.

That’s the kind of pivot Smith talked about, urging participants to understand customers’ needs, changes in the marketplace and how to do things differently.

Asking participants for examples of how their operations had changed, Vail Valley Partnership President and CEO Chris Romer noted that group has taken much of its work to the virtual world. The group has moved its seminars and other programs to Zoom and other platforms. A lot of the group’s information is now in an online resource library.

“That wouldn’t have made sense a year ago,” Romer said.

Kate Manzer of the Walking Mountains Science Center is that organization’s sustainability programs coordinator. Manzer said Walking Mountains now has a “bank” of sustainability training sessions. That bank helps answer frequent questions, she said.

Smith said while the ability to pivot is important, it’s equally important to make sure that new directions are justified with numbers and goals.

“Numbers are a sanity check — they hold us accountable,” Smith said. “Without numbers, you’re just shooting in the dark.”

It’s also essential to stay emotionally positive, Smith said. Focus on purpose and mission is a “guidepost” for moving forward, she added.

There’s also the matter of working through fear and other negative emotions.

Moving forward and staying flexible are essential, Smith said. But that’s easier said than done. Smith said people need to refocus as needed, and staying persistent.

“You need to plan for alternative outcomes,” Smith said.

Ryan said the spur-of-the-moment change at the Grand Avenue Grill could be a lasting addition to the business, even as health orders allow more indoor dining.

“It might be better,” Ryan said.

Smith leads seminars and provides coaching to those working to “find solutions to work and life challenges.” For more information, go to

Support Local Journalism