Leadership / Management

Four tips on how to ‘seize the storm’

Navigators_of_changeThe market meltdown reminds me of the times we went through with the "crisis in confidence" during the Enron / Worldcom failures.

That was a period in which I was working on the CPA Vision Project and we identified the need to deal with the uncertainty and magnitude of crises that we thought would be more common in the future. We developed the concept that we all needed to become "navigators of change." In fact, the combination of the CPA vision, values and core competencies worked together to provide the requisite skills needed to navigate our organizations and careers in turbulent times.

Over the last few weeks, I have been thinking about that more and more as I read the latest thinking from some of the best business gurus around. The latest thinking comes from Jack and Suzy Welch.

Jack and Suzy Welch share their thoughts on how to survive and thrive in these turbulent times in their article in Business Week titled, How to Seize the Storm.

Here are their tips:

  1. Plan as if the downturn will be longer and harsher than you think.
  2. Don't stop talking. Crises require increased communication with all of your stakeholders -- customers, suppliers, partners and team members.
  3. Energize your people with a second-half hang-on-to-your-towel bonus plan. Make sure your people know that high performance will be recognized and rewarded.
  4. Do everything you can to buy or bury your competition.

I want to add that the keys to navigating this storm and future storms are to constantly know where your ultimate destination is (clear vision and values) and the skills necessary to evaluate changing circumstances, communicate the situation (context) and make the necessary changes in course to navigate around obstacles and get back on course.

The other major benefit of this strategic discipline is increased recruitment and retention. Having a strong company and firm mission and vision is among the top three reasons top talent joins and stays with organizations, according to the AICPA PCPS Top Talent Study from 2007

You can read about this in my earlier post titled Top 5 factors that will define the future and the Top 4 steps to create your own future. I have to add that the combination of a strong vision and values along with the strategic plan (see Step 1 above) now need to be evaluated at least yearly (or more frequently). If done well, they will lead to the right energy and culture to thrive in the storm.

What are you doing to thrive in this storm? or are you just focused on surviving it?