“When written in Chinese, the word “crisis” is composed of two characters — one represents danger, and the other represents opportunity.” John F. Kennedy
It is unusual to be able to capture and to retain the attention of any group of people, much less an entire nation. But the current economic crisis is so completely pervasive and so threatening, it is impacting every level of our society. Fortunately, like all cyclical deflationary and inflationary events, this crisis it will come to an end, and a depressive environment will give way to optimism, to investment and to rapid growth.
The question is … What do we do in the meantime? … and… How do we prepare for a “different” future?
Optimism or Pessimism?
“Welcome every problem as an opportunity. Each moment is the great challenge, the best thing that ever happened to you. The more difficult the problem, the greater the challenge in working it out.” Grace Speare
This may seem a strange statement to make … while this may be the toughest economy you have ever done business in, it is also the most unique opportunity you may ever have to enact fast, effective and lasting productive change!
Right now people are not just worried about pay, benefits, and pensions, they are deeply concerned about job security, avoiding foreclosure, and keeping their family secure. While you may feel uncomfortable at what may appear to be exploiting a crisis, reality dictates we must seize every opportunity to survive and to eventually prosper. Fear of failure may not be the kindest motivator, but our choices are severely limited.
We can stand still and fail or move forward and fight for success. Given the level of fear and worry it should be obvious that an aggressive improvement plan of action is just the reassurance and the distraction the workforce needs.
Seize the Future
“When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.” Alexander Graham Bell
The traditional approach to an economic downturn is to obviously cut costs, but even if you do, what happens when the economy turns around? You simply add these costs again, but you will not have made any progress in an economy which will certainly be more demanding than the one we struggled in before!
Even before this economic downturn there was a growing consensus in our industry that change was necessary, it was inevitable, and it was long overdue. In the past the consequences of ignoring the necessity of continuous change were debatable, but not now! There is a window of opportunity but it will narrow very rapidly.