The Economic Downturn - Smart Moves for Tough Times


Some people are still debating whether we are in recession or not.  Whether we are or not is beside the point.  What is clear is that to survive this economic downturn will require new thinking and new strategies.  This downturn is more than a hiccup in the regular business cycle.  It is probably the biggest challenge in the global economy that we have ever had and will challenge all the hard-won gains business has achieved in the last decades.

One of the major problems is that we have a multi-speed economy with some industries slowing dramatically and businesses closing their doors while some others are booming.  However, it is clear that even this may not last because of the pressures internationally.

The question is:  What do we need to do to see this economic downturn as an incredible opportunity not only to survive but to thrive?  We can make two choices – be reactive or proactive.  We can be reactive and have a victim mentality – we can blame all these external factors:

  • The global financial crisis
  • The government
  • Increases in water, electricity, gas and government charges
  • Lack of capital
  • Lack of financial security.

This approach causes people to fear.  When people have this mindset they do nothing.  It paralyses them because they feel disempowered and overwhelmed.  As a result organisations simply bunker down and accept the fate they have created in their own minds.  This results in a slash and burn mentality with staff retrenchments and cutbacks which impacts heavily on trust and credibility of suppliers, staff and other stakeholders.

Another response is to be proactive and to see the economic downturn as a unique opportunity to consolidate and extend competitive advances.  How can we do that? 

  • It starts with you and your mindset. Correct your view of the future. Start affirming a different opportunistic view every day. What you expect you will get.
  • Decide on a clear plan of what you need to do.
  • Involve all stakeholders.
  • Focus on clear strategies and priorities.
  • Implement a very well-crafted change strategy facilitated by an outstanding change agent.
  • Focus on "cash is king" mentality as never before. Examine everything but focus on things that produce a return on the investment.

 Remember, whatever you focus on and expect is what you will get.