Recession protection guide for organizational leaders

Millions were made during the Great Depression.  To position yourself to win,  consider shifting, or more specifically, the consequences of not shifting.

– As your market shifts can you shift fast enough?

– As your customer’s request change, asking more for less, can you multiply value so they stay with you rather than with your competition?

– As your competition adjusts can you shift to make it simpler for customers to stick with you?

– As your organization shifts to adapt to the economic shock, can you make it easier for your employees to play to win again, rather than play to avoid losing?

65% of change efforts fail in good times. And that number gets a lot worse in bad times.

Now is NOT the time to be one of the losers by making common avoidable mistakes. Your blind-spots are dangerous.  They prevent you from finding the right shift.

Choose the wrong shift, and you’ll look really bad and your credibility will be squandered. Your leadership is at stake.

Here are some of your constraints:

– Competition

– Organizational silos

– Lack of alignment

– Time and delivery schedules

– Execution challenges

– Shortages

– Inefficiencies

– Workload outstripping capacity

– Talent

Shifting is not based upon positive thinking. It is, however, a result of thinking powerfully, harnessing your ingenuity, and developing choice-making powers.

In these times of economic peril, “It’s not the best who wins, it’s who is most adaptive.”

People confuse these two and it leads to poor performance. Arguably IBM was the best but they couldn’t adapt, or adapt fast enough, and they took a terrible beating in the marketplace until they shifted what they were doing.

The economic waves of change will make business dinosaurs… Adapt or die.

You’ve heard, “If you continue to do what doesn’t work and expect it to work, that’s called insanity.  Do something different!”

OK!  But how?

Let me see if I can begin to help you here.

And, yes, it’s ok to get help on this. Many of the brilliant Advantage-Makers I’ve described in my book, The Advantage-Makers, collaborated, had mentors and advisors to successfully shift.

The ‘how’ to do things differently is in the art and science of strategic shifting.

You need maneuverability in your thinking.  And you need it now, not later.

One immediate way to do that is to identify your ‘attempted solutions;’

Doing more of the same, harder, seldom gets you where you want to be.

For example, telling your team to work harder, when they’re already working hard, seldom changes anything, and may make it worse.  You mean well, but it’s not going to work.  Most executives are surprised to discover they have blind-spots and need help to see they are repeating mistakes.

When you are not getting the results you want, ask yourself, how’s your approach working for you, really?

Don’t let your ego get in the way. If you can’t see it, ask others sooner rather than later, or there may not be a later.  One tell-tale sign is problems that keep repeating. Find the pattern.

Then, when you know the pattern, shift 180 degree and you’ll often spot solutions. You’ll be amazed at the results if done right.

Solutions to problems are often hidden in plain sight.

For example, Most of you know about the Avis slogan, “We’re Number 2, We Try Harder”.

But you may not know HOW and WHY that strategic shift worked and how it can help you.

Avis was on the verge of bankruptcy.

The more they tried to be Number 1 against Hertz, the more Hertz fought back and the further Avis dropped. A losing game.

Look at the clues in Avis’ persistence, their repeated ‘attempted’ solutions.

Don’t be fooled by the myth of persistence; ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.’   What if the persistence is actually the problem!?

It was a brilliant 180 degree shift to go to, “We’re Number 2, We Try Harder.”

While this shift was ‘hidden in plain sight,’ it wasn’t easy because of the conventional wisdom that to be Number 1, you must persist until you drop.

(Influencing the executives to use this shift was part of the persuasion skill that made this effort a success; this will be covered in future blogs.)

For now, is your persisting in conventional wisdom a blind-spot as you battle the recession and economic downturn? If so, you may get lucky and still be around.

But this downturn is no time for luck, or for amateurs.

You must have a steady hand and do something sensibly different to create advantages.

Getting your people to think this way has huge upside leverage for you and the organization. Sadly, most people wait too long, and don’t find the real leverage.

I’m not talking about crazy swings, but shifts that count.

The skill of advantage-making enable you to anticipate and make moves others overlook.

Start thinking now: what is my winning move(s), my winning shift(s)?

Chuck Fox, CEO Chameleon Systems said to me, “The biggest mistake I made was not finding the winning shift sooner!”