When is it time to pivot?

August 04, 2022

When you think of pivoting, do you think of a business strategy or basketball?

Since my husband Matt is a former high school basketball coach and college basketball player, I asked him his thoughts about the term. Our conversation went like this…

Lisa: What does it mean to pivot?

Coach Johnson: Change direction.

Lisa: Why do you pivot?

Coach Johnson: To pass or shoot. When you pivot, you gain an advantage.

Matt did not know at the time that he was co-authoring this article, but I am amazed at how the sports analogy applies to business.

Changing Direction

I started my first consulting business in 2004 to be an economic development consultant. As it turned out, I had the opportunity to help with starting two statewide nonprofit organizations, which involved a lot of fundraising. Three years later, I returned to the economic development field as the executive director of Goshen County Economic Development Corporation in Torrington, Wyo. About ten years later, I had also worked for the Wyoming Business Council in a variety of roles, when I decided to hang up my shingle again as a consultant. 

When I founded Orbis in 2017, I initially thought I would do more nonprofit consulting. There always seemed to be a need for fundraising. As it turned out, I had the opportunity to enter the lobbying arena. In addition, we have economic development clients and help businesses and nonprofits with strategic planning, marketing, and accessing financing. So for the past five years, Orbis has been known as business and public affairs consultants.

With both lines of business growing substantially, I decided to change direction. Orbis is pivoting away from lobbying to focus on our passion for helping people translate their vision into reality.

Gaining a business advantage

After starting Orbis, I also decided to get a masters degree. Part of my motivation was the team of consultants I had assembled to help me with consulting projects included a doctor of educational leadership and two MBAs. Obtaining the credential of a Master of Organizational Leadership from Colorado Christian University mirrored my previous work experience in many ways, yet it took my writing, faith and emotional intelligence to a whole new level.

What is organizational leadership?

The graduate program focused on several aspects of leadership faced by business, government and nonprofit leaders.

  • Human resource management
  • Values-aligned leadership
  • Organizational systems, change management
  • Social technology, emerging media
  • Relations management: negotiations and conflict resolution
  • Leading in government and nonprofit organizations
  • Business planning

When thinking about how to describe our new focus, I had an aha moment. Organizational leadership has been my life’s work, and our team at Orbis has a diverse set of skills and experience to strengthen the leadership of many types of organizations. So it only made sense to use the term from my graduate studies to describe our new focus.

In keeping with the sports analogy, it only seems fitting to share a motivational quote from the famous basketball coach John Wooden.

Wooden’s definition of success – doing your best to become your best – applies to our personal and work lives.

Orbis works to craft industry-leading solutions

We help business and non-profit leaders reach their full potential through market research, strategic planning, and developing organizational leadership. Some of our work is featured in the Case Studies section of our website. 

Our passion is to build strong businesses and organizations that have a positive and enduring economic impact.

Lisa Johnson
Lisa is an enterprising idea person who likes to share with others to help in their business and personal success. She was raised on cattle ranches in Wyoming and Colorado. She holds a B.S. in Communications from Eastern New Mexico University and is a graduate of the Economic Development Institute. Her economic development career has spanned 20+ years and three states, with leadership roles at the county, regional and state level. She founded Orbis to enjoy the advantage of working on unique consulting on projects while being actively involved on her husband’s family ranch at LaGrange, Wyoming. Lisa is equally as comfortable in the corporate board room or in the saddle.