One commentator on the Harvard Biz Twitter feed recently wrote: Downturns are as much about psychology as about GNP, about
withering confidence as about shrinking employment. (See the feed here.)
It may be hard to grasp the idea that some of what is happening may be controllable in the current market - especially with
today's unemployment jumping to 7.2%. But there is certainly no shortage of advice on managing through a downturn out there
- and every author says there are ways to seize on opportunities despite the tough times.
Another article on the topic popped up this week in BusinessWeek, titled "Managing Through a Crisis: The New Rules."
One management guru tells the magazine: Executives have to lead "their people out of a psychological funk and at the same time tailor their business to focus on a new reality." How to do this? BusinessWeek offers a few suggestions:
- Question every technique that worked during the boom years - it may not work in a downturn.
- Financial health may require sacrifice. BusinessWeek says this means selling off assets at bargain prices or issuing stock in a down market.
- Don't wait for competitors to fail. Hire their best people and take steps to protect your own work force. Or buy assets from competitors who are cash-strapped.
- Go after new customers when others are cutting back on service.
- Get rid of strategies/products that don't fit your core business.
- If you have to cut costs, BusinessWeek says you should start at the top. And if you can't reward employees through money this year, give them more power by asking for their advice/input on projects and important decisions.
MDM will feature wholesale distribution industry expert Brent Grover of Evergreen Consulting (formerly the head of his own paper distribution business) in a Webcast, "Manage the Panic of 2009: New Rules for New Economic Realities," on Tuesday, Jan. 13. Sign up by clicking here. Did you miss it? Don't worry. MDM Webcasts are available after the event on demand. "