If you can keep your head when all about you others are losing theirs and blaming it on you.
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but make allowance for their doubting too.
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting... Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it...!
- Excerpt from "IF" by Rudyard Kipling
Whether you are an entrepreneur, company executive, or employee, economic uncertainty may have you tied in knots. The remedy: TAKE CONTROL. When we feel powerless, we become victims. And if you're reading this, you probably don't care to play that role! Operating from positions of fear or scarcity takes a heavy toll on people and organizations.
The media keeps the economy on everyone's minds. Not only do we watch the Dow and S&P, we now keep tabs on markets around the world. There is uncertainty and volatility. Global markets are becoming more and more complex and ambiguity abounds. What are we to do? The answer: strategically determine how to outperform the competition.
Throughout history there have always been winners, even in the direst of times. There is no better time than the present to step back and assess where you are, where you want to be, and determine what it takes to get there. As usual, solutions are not always easy to implement, but they are easy to understand.
Strategic Planning - Specific goals are not enough.
High performing people and organizations are disciplined. They have a systematic process for regular strategic thinking and business planning. They determine where they are going and how to get there. Do you have a plan with clear objectives? How well is it communicated to those who help you do what you do? To what degree, if any, do day-to-day operations mirror your plan?
Winners are proactive, not reactive. I was recently with a few hundred highly successful women entrepreneurs from across the country...Presidents of businesses generating between $2 million and $200 million or more in revenues. The theme was innovation. It was loud and clear that these women, these winners, were preparing for tomorrow. In fact, many are allocating more resources toward planning and innovation to ensure they are winners at the other end of this economic cycle.
In his book "The Dip," Seth Godin asserts that the difference between great success and mediocrity lies in knowing what you want and determining whether it's time to quit or forge ahead. Are you doing the right things? Success is as much about what you stop doing as it is about doing the right things.
When the going gets tough, the tough get going. When it gets hard, we see the differences between superstars and others. Odds are most people will quit. People and organizations that thrive in adversity are scarce; therefore, they become more valuable.
Several years ago, I read the autobiography of Richard Branson, entrepreneur and founder of Virgin Airlines. What struck me was his philosophy on dealing with adversity...rather than contract when faced with harsh conditions, expand out of it.
The fearful contract...they tighten their belts and look for every opportunity to cut costs. I call this managing the business one paper clip at a time.
While competitors are searching under desks for paper clips and carefully returning each one to the supply closet, you can be thinking, planning, expanding and acting...moving forward and crafting your own success.
Sharpen your vision to create your competitive edge. It takes highly focused strategic thinking, intense business planning, and complete concentration on aligning everything in your organization toward clear, specific objectives. It will help to consider the following:
- Do you need to review, refine or even develop your vision for the future?
- What are you good at? Why do you do what you do? Are you passionate about it?
- Is the road you're currently on the one most likely to carry you to your ultimate vision?
- What assumptions was your current business plan based on? To what degree does the price of gasoline, interest rates, food costs, and other economic, market or social changes impact your ability to achieve your objectives?
- Are your business goals still valid?
- What 3 to 5 things are most critical to your accomplishments? Do you need to develop different behaviors, attitudes and habits for success in those critical areas?
- Are you/your organization aligned to make maximum benefit of the people and processes necessary to create and retain loyal customers?
There Are Always Winners; No Matter What The Conditions...Will It Be You?
Reprint permission granted by author Allison Darling, President of ManagementConcepts, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.