It has been a wild couple of days to say the least. From downgrading our debt quality to dealing with the roller coaster that is the stock market, we have dealt with a lot. There is heightened awareness of the possibility of a double dip (and we ain’t talking about ice cream here).
Over the past few years I met with many executives that were taking the hold approach. They would downsize, cut back manage costs and ride this thing out. Now when it appears like someone hit the reset button back to 2008, what do you plan to do?
In this environment people are concerned. Many are keeping their fingers crossed and hoping this is just a blip on the radar screen. While it is hard to say what tomorrow will bring, I am sure we all agree that nobody wants to go back to where we were a few years ago. So my question to you is who’s economy are you going to participate in?
The question has less to do with geography or country than it does with state of mind. I have worked with a number of executives since launching InVision and the leaders that made a conscious effort not to let the economy dictate their growth have done quite well. These companies are not specific to an industry. In fact, some of the businesses would surprise you with the success they had while their competitors were struggling to stay afloat.
There are some key traits these business people possessed that allowed them to grow substantially while others faltered. Here they are:
They got focused – These leaders got very clear about the direction they were going and what they were going to do. They wrote down their plans, goals and action steps.
They took action – Having a plan is one thing. Acting on it is another.
They simplified where possible – The more complex we make things the more resources that are required to make it go. These leaders focused on simplifying processes and service offerings to allow them to concentrate on what they do best. They were able to put all their resources on their greatest strengths which allowed them to grow their business.
They engaged top talent – Every company wants to hire good people Good people want to have some control and purpose in their work. The business owners that engaged staff into their cause were not only able to retain the best talent, they were also able to increase productivity and sales as a result while maintaining a happy workforce through difficult times
They focused on being the best – Good enough is never good enough for these people. The desire to improve and grow is always there. The result was to create a culture of continuous change and improvement.
They sought help before they actually need it. In business, sales are often an indicator of activity you were doing months, if not years, earlier. So if your sales are lagging today, it’s not just because of the actions you are taking now. It also includes the actions you took earlier in the year. Address issues when you become aware of them. Like maintenance on your car, you do not change the oil after the engine blows up to try and fix the problem.
They focus on the positive – There are advantages to being a “glass half full” person. Optimism is necessary for growth through adversity. Each of these leaders were optimistic while being realistic as well. What’s important is they focused on ways they would succeed while others were concerned with how they were going to fail.
So, again, what economy are you going to participate in?