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How Business Leaders Can Bring Stability and Hope In a Time Of Uncertainty

uncertainty

How Business Leaders Can Bring Stability and Hope In a Time Of Uncertainty

Many business leaders face extreme challenges during their career, but the coronavirus pandemic is uncharted waters for all.

Most offices and stores are closed across the U.S. to combat the spread of COVID-19. Companies still operating are mostly working remotely, and many are doing business differently to adjust to the new normal. As uncertainty continues to reign, how should leaders respond to new fiscal challenges and what guidelines should they follow?

“Companies around the world are reevaluating how they do business in order to overcome the challenge that we all face in this moment,” says Jadon Newman, CEO of Noble Capital (www.noblecapital.com), a private investment and private equity firm. “Times of crisis are when the best leaders step up, calm their workforce, believe in their capabilities, and go beyond the norm to influence changes that make a company stronger for the long haul.

“While the health and well-being of team members has to be leadership’s primary concern, it’s never been more important to find new and creative ways to meet revenue goals. Challenging times is when innovation is often born, and that starts with leaders who won’t be paralyzed by problems, but rather see them as opportunities to grow.”

Newman offers five tips to help business leaders navigate this unprecedented time:

Turn to your core values. A company’s core values act as a compass in stormy seas, Newman says, bringing some stability and helping maintain direction even while waves of uncertainty approach. “Your unchanging core values provide clarity amid the turbulence,” Newman says. “They serve as a framework to inform your decision-making process, especially during periods of uncertainty.”

Be strong and honest. “Leaders who are best prepared to get through a crisis have a good level of resiliency,” Newman says. “They have mental discipline, accept life’s insecurities and don’t panic when the storm hits. The next step is committing to transparency with employees. Share your thoughts, concerns, and encouragement, and reinforce the company values.”

Learn, invite new ideas, and adjust. A crisis causes leaders to re-evaluate processes and consider improvements tailored to a changing business climate. “It’s imperative to learn from the current crisis,” Newman says, “and from your data determine what your company can do differently in order to adjust. Embrace it as an exciting opportunity to innovate and be better. Solicit ideas from your most trusted people. Look at new services and products you could create. Everything from what you sell to how you deliver it might be on the table for change.”

Be extra resourceful. “One thing we learned during the last recession is how to be resourceful,” Newman says. “Now is the time to reorganize and refocus to achieve lean and efficient business operations. Develop a plan to reduce costs without interrupting critical business functions. Reach out to your network and external partners to leverage any resources you may have outside of the company. Empower all team members and leaders at your company to exercise a new level of responsibility.”

Increase, improve communication. “Communication with team members, clients and external partners is paramount,” Newman says. “And there’s no reason you can’t improve communication despite the current circumstances. Increase the use of the technology to stay in front of clients, including video conferencing, emails and even text messages when appropriate. Work with your business leadership to develop the appropriate communication plan for your business.”

“How a company overcomes major challenges determines what type of company they are,” Newman says. “As leaders step up and guide a company through, they develop deeper leadership capabilities that will last long beyond the current crisis. Likewise, their company will be stronger for it.”

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Jadon Newman is the founder and CEO of Noble Capital (www.noblecapital.com). With a 20-year career in real estate and finance, he specializes in private lending, private equity, investment real estate and strategic venture capital.

How Businesses can Adapt and Prosper in a Post-Pandemic Economy

As the economy restarts after the forced shutdown caused by COVID-19, businesses face a litany of unknowns. How quickly will shoppers return to their buying routines? Will temporary measures – working remotely, eating at home more, using delivery services – become permanent for large numbers of Americans?

“Many businesses won’t be able to return to their old way of doing things, but in some cases that might be just as well,” says Bill Higgs, an authority on corporate culture and the ForbesBooks author of the Culture Code Champions: 7 Steps to Scale & Succeed in Your Business (www.culturecodechampions.com).

Often, those old ways probably weren’t working, says Higgs, a founder and former CEO of Mustang Engineering who recently launched the Culture Code Champions podcast.

“Many companies have problems within their corporate culture that keep them from prospering the way they should,” he says. “They hire whoever is available instead of seeking out the best talent. They communicate poorly. They have silos within the company that create a lot of rework and foster competition instead of cooperation.”

Now is a chance to do better, Higgs says, and he recommends a few thing business leaders should do as they work to bring their companies out of the economic downturn:

Be a visible presence. Higgs says he has known instances where, during a downturn, leadership goes into hiding. “They would just disappear,” he says. “They didn’t want to face the music with their people. But as businesses struggle to recover from our current crisis, owners and CEOs need to get out and talk to their people. I call it ‘management by wandering around.’ They need to engage their team and discuss how everyone can pull together to get through this.”

Understand this could be an opportune time to hire. The unemployment rate spiked upward as the economy went into freefall, but that means there’s an opportunity for businesses that want to build a strong team, Higgs says. “During just about any downturn, the people who lose their jobs include top-notch performers,” he says. “Be on the lookout for that talent. Snap them up if you can. But even if you can’t hire right away, it’s important to be aware that those top performers are out there so  you can go after them when the time is right.”

Don’t get comfortable. One problem businesses encounter when good times return is that they revert to bad habits, Higgs says. They aren’t as diligent about eliminating waste. They keep poor-performing employees long past the point where they should have parted ways. “Companies by necessity run lean in the lean times,” he says. “But they also need to run lean in the good times, so they will be in better shape the next time the economy goes bust. Staying lean in the good times is a game changer.”

“One more mistake businesses make in good times is that when they get really busy, they stop selling, or at least aren’t as motivated to sell,” Higgs says. “I always say you should sell while the shop is full. That way when your salespeople are in a client’s office, they don’t come off as desperately begging for work. Instead, they are talking about all the fun stuff and good stuff you’re doing at your company. That makes a big difference in how you are perceived.”

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Bill Higgs (www.culturecodechampions.com), an authority on corporate culture, is the ForbesBooks author of Culture Code Champions: 7 Steps to Scale & Succeed in Your Business. The website and book provide methods to self-implement a culture that will improve a company’s bottom line. Higgs recently launched the Culture Code Champions podcast, where he has interviewed such notable subjects as former CIA director David Petraeus and NASA’s woman pioneer Sandra Coleman. Culture Code Champions is listed as a New & Noteworthy podcast on iTunes.

Higgs is also the co-founder and former CEO of Mustang Engineering Inc. In 20 years, they grew the company from their initial $15,000 investment and three people to a billion-dollar company with 6,500 people worldwide. Second, third and fourth-generation leaders took the company to $2 billion in 2014. Higgs is a distinguished 1974 graduate (top 5 percent academically) of the United States Military Academy at West Point and runner up for a Rhodes scholarship. He is an Airborne Ranger and former commander of a combat engineer company.

executives

What Executives Can Learn From the Globe’s Best Leaders

Military leaders often provide what is called “Top Cover” flying above their followers to ensure their mission is a success. Submarines travel with pilot ships to guide them. This is what executives need to do. The purpose of this article is to answer the question “What executives can learn from 5 famous American leaders?”

There are various issues and considerations existing in the leadership literature as the core of the criticism in the literature is that organizations of all sorts (corporations, government agencies, and non-profit organizations) tend to be over-managed (and, in some cases, over-administrated) and under-led. Reading all the books on leadership today will cover the gamut of Shakespeare to Geronimo. Not to say that these authors, leaders, and thinkers do not have anything good to say about leadership. It is just that the plethora of leadership literature has sent mixed signals to executives. The only thing we know is the managers may be doing things right but leaders are doing the right things. If you agree, even slightly, with this concept, then this article is designed, developed, and created for you.

What Executives Can Learn from Eisenhower’s Leadership

In American politics in 2016, a crucial year between the democratic and republican parties, this presidential election has shown that there is a direct connection between politics and CEOs, who at least think they are experienced enough to hold the ultimate leadership position. Political leaders are not any different than organizational businessmen. More and more businessmen and women are becoming political candidates and people are responding positively. The reason being—the two do go together. At the heart of leadership are a large number of followers. Without the support of followers, leaders will fail. The same thing goes with the political candidate that has to win the hearts and minds of the followers to get elected.

There are many more followers than there are leaders and this is more so in the political realm. The question is: Can CEOs see political leaders as the perfect examples for leadership? The answer is a resounding “Yes.” For example, Eisenhower, one of the former presidents of the United States in World War II, effectively led both the American government and the Allied Forces in Europe in defeating Adolf Hitler. Eisenhower’s leadership provides lessons for CEOs in today’s organizational challenges. Eisenhower argued that leaders must care for their people as individuals, always remain optimistic, and place themselves with and for the people, and, most importantly, provide the WHY behind what you ask them to do. For the executive’s corner, executives must be aware that Dwight Eisenhower’s leadership can fundamentally affect the way a company performs its functions.

What Executives Can Learn from 4 Famous American Business Leaders

One example of this comes from CEO Rich Teerlink, who dramatically changed Harley-Davidson in the 1980s, and fundamentally built a different organization that still prospers today. The success of leadership at the Harley-Davidson Corporation has stood the test of time. For example, Harley-Davidson’s leadership created a more effective organization built upon three primary principles, focusing on people, challenging norms, and continuing to fundamentally change. At Harley, every employee can participate in leadership decision-making.

Another example of famous American business leaders in a highly competitive environment is Steve Jobs, former leader of Apple, who built a highly effective organization through taking a change-oriented leadership approach, which highly manifested itself in talent, product, organization, and marketing. As a result, leadership, being the core of management, is crucial to the company’s success—-both from a performance and management level.

The evidence from these examples suggests that leadership is highly demanding at the corporate level. For organizations to achieve a sustained change and eventually a higher degree of efficiency and effectiveness, selecting a great business leader is the key to success. In the absence of leadership, organizations lose their required direction to achieve a high degree of hypercompetitiveness, and cannot implement successful change in order to adapt to today’s global business environment.

As executives attempt to manage people they find that intellectual capital is at the forefront of success—Bill Gates, as an exemplary leader, once mentioned that if he lost his top 50 people that he would not have an organization anymore. Executives develop organizational communications aimed at providing valuable resources for all organizational members. They enhance knowledge sharing among intellectual capital and stipulate knowledge to be shared around the organization.

Sharing the best practices and experiences could positively impact some aspects of non-financial performance such as innovation, providing learning and growth opportunities for employees. Empowered employees can enable organizations to actively respond to environmental changes, which can, in turn, enhance performance in terms of return on assets and return on sales.

The outcome is success which narrows the gap between success and failure and this can be achieved by the commitment of organizational members and facilitated by executives. When executives show concern for the employee’s individual needs, individuals begin to contribute more commitment and they become more inspired them to put extra effort into their work. This extra effort improves customer satisfaction, and impacts shareholder value and improves operational risk management.

Corporate strategy can be also employed by incredibly successful leaders, such as Jeff Bezos, to enhance goal achievement. Prominent scholars that are well known in the Academy of Management, one of the largest leadership and management organizations in the world also say that successful organizations enhance their competitiveness by focusing on corporate strategy. Leaders find that corporate strategy is in the forefront of success. Corporate strategy could be the most important component of success in this ever-changing business environment of today. This, by far, is why some organizations are successful and some are not. The key take-away for executives is that corporate strategy is a resource that enables organizations to solve problems and create value through improved performance and it is this point that will narrow the gaps of success and failure leading to more successful decision-making.

Evidently, executives that implement corporate strategy as an important driving force for business success find their organization to be more competitive and on the cutting edge. Thus, the effectiveness of corporate strategy implementation is determined by a set of critical success factors, one of which is the strategic dimension of leadership. And the burden of success when the implementation of corporate strategy is concerned is heavily dependent on the capabilities of the organization’s leaders. Therefore, the outcome is success which narrows the gap between success and failure and this can be achieved by corporate strategy implementation and facilitated by an executive following Jeff Bezos and acting as a leader.

In Conclusion

Many executives are familiar with leadership surveys developed by scholars and this article is not about measuring aptitude or defining leadership styles. It is about getting the information needed to be successful in the right hands of executives. This article raises a vital question as to how executives can lead by example. I attempt to blend scholarly concepts with real-world application through thoroughly looking at the perfect examples for leadership. Based on this article, executives can now see that famous American leaders can, in fact, make a fundamental change in the processes by which organizations serve their clients. And success can be more effective when leadership is applied to change attitudes and assumptions. Without a grasp on this one tenet executives are bound to fail.

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Mostafa Sayyadi works with senior business leaders to effectively develop innovation in companies and helps companies—from start-ups to the Fortune 100—succeed by improving the effectiveness of their leaders. He is a business book author and a long-time contributor to business publications and his work has been featured in top-flight business publications.  

experiment

5 Tips to Help You Lead & Experiment During Crisis

As a leader, during COVID-19 (or any crisis) it can be hard to find your feet and to feel confident in your path. You may feel inadequate, unsure, and out of your depth. That is to be expected. This is leadership like we have never seen before. So many businesses are closed or trying to find new ways of doing things. I believe almost every organization feels like a start-up right now. Uncertain times need new kinds of leadership. We don’t have the answers, only questions, and still, we are asked to be leaders. Being experimental in your leadership approach will help you try things, learn from them, and figure out your next experiment.

These tips will help you find a new center for yourself as a leader:

You are not responsible. It should go without saying, but this is not your fault. This is a global challenge that doesn’t have clear answers. Your people may want you to have answers, but you won’t and you can’t. They will want certainty about their jobs, their income, and their lives. You can’t promise them the future. Encourage them to do their job today and let them know you have compassion but cannot be the answer to their future. Give up being an all-knowing leader and be human. Practice compassion and be collaborative to help your team makes sense of the crazy.

Get bad news out of the way fast. If you have lay-offs and reorgs to do, do it quickly. Make a plan–even if it is a bad plan and clear this from your “to do” list. You will be a better leader with clarity. Kudos if you can be compassionate while you do it. There are some businesses that will not survive this. Don’t hide your head in the sand like an ostrich. Embrace information and communication even if it is bad news. Work on being a good leader in bad times. Figure out what being a good leader means to you. Kindness goes a long way when you are delivering bad news.

Think about a timeline. What is important 1 week from now? What is important 1 month from now? What is important 1 year from now? Some organizations need to be extending their timeline (How will we emerge from this crisis?) while others are busy changing to meet day to day needs (What do our clients need today?). Make sure to orient your thinking daily and consider multiple time frames. Make time to consider your leadership path before you face a day of decision making and are faced with the feelings and challenges of others. Find your own true north as a leader.

Be kind and firm. Your team members may be spinning and scared. Be empathetic and then ask them to get back to their jobs and produce good work. Having meaningful work is a privilege in these times and you can ask them to be achievers right now….today. You can deliver groundedness and purpose as long as they are working. There can be compassion for the challenges they face (kids at home, new environment, etc) but don’t let them off the hook. They are being paid to provide work. Your insistence on them delivering work is part of the work of leadership right now.

Practice extreme self-care. You are your own strongest asset. Experiment to strengthen your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Reach for the salad and smoothies instead of the martinis and chocolate cake. Exercise. Sleep. Meditate if that works for you. Journal or sit and think. Pause. Ask for help and love from friends. Schedule a virtual happy hour with friends or colleagues. Try and go deeper than you ever have before with your self-care. You have never needed to care for yourself as you do today. Experiment with giving yourself what you need.

You will get through this. You will learn from this. You will do your best and you will do your worst in this. As an experimental leader, it is important that you stay engaged in the struggle of leadership. Try and fail and dust yourself off. Figure out the change you want to see and what the barriers are. Figure out an experiment. Collect data. Figure out what you just learned. Ask, “What is my next experiment?” Go experiment again.

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Melanie Parish is a public speaker, author, and Master Coach. An expert in problem-solving, constraints management, operations, and brand development, Melanie has consulted and coached organizations ranging from the Fortune 50 to IT start-ups. She is the author of The Experimental Leader: Be A New Kind of Boss to Cultivate an Organization of Innovators. For more information, please visit, www.melanieparish.com, and connect with her on Twitter, @melanieparish.

How to Be a Strong Leader during Coronavirus

The economic and social uncertainties that the coronavirus pandemic has precipitated all over the world have created new and harsh challenges for political, religious, community, and business leaders. No one saw the current pandemic coming, so not many leaders were sufficiently prepared for it. But then, a leader must lead regardless of how unprepared or inexperienced.

In the business world, leaders are struggling to cope with the new realities of social distancing and the increased need for remote working. This is a time when business leaders need to inspire hope among their employees, even as they struggle to keep their businesses afloat. It is a time when leaders need to take quick actions that will save supply chains from collapsing. Consumer trends are changing faster than ever experienced before, and businesses must keep up with the trends or risk running out of business. Indeed, difficult and important decisions must be made and made fast. But how can a leader inspire hope during these difficult times?

For a start, business leaders must work closely with all stakeholders- governments, clients, partners, investors, and employees- in monitoring the virus and prioritizing everyone’s safety. At the same time, they must try to cushion the financial future of their organizations and employees. Strong leadership skills have never been more relevant. Here are 5 strong leadership skills that will help you provide the leadership that your employees so desperately need:

 1. Have a compelling and consistent message

Communication in times of crisis is way more demanding than during any other time, particularly because your subordinates must believe in your message first before agreeing to abide by it. You need to inspire hope that the current crisis will come to an end soon, but then the people you are inspiring are convinced otherwise. People are desperate for “the normal” so that they can go back to pursuing their careers and lives, but then their optimism is gone. Their only hope is that their leaders can chart a path forward, but then most of them don’t trust anyone who has the right answers to this pandemic. You will have a better shot at inspiring your staff if your actions and body language are consistent with your words. This is the time to leverage the experiences, values, talents, and qualities that your juniors appreciate about you. Build your message around those qualities and be consistent while at it.

2. Be empathetic

You will need to make tough decisions during this crisis, but you must always come from a place of empathy. This is a time when your listening skills for managers will be put to test like never before; a time when you have to understand the feelings and experiences of your juniors before making any decisions. Such skills will help you detect fear and agony in the questions your juniors ask, so you are able to empathize with everyone and give the right directives. Note that it is natural for some of your juniors to feel like you don’t have answers or good enough solutions to their fears. If you are empathetic, however, you will understand their paranoia and skepticism better and that will enable you to package your solutions in a way that inspires hope in the midst of the paranoia, doubts, and hopelessness.

3. Be tenacious

Strive not to be overwhelmed by the challenges this pandemic has brought. Let everyone see your determination in defeating this disease and its ripple effects. Being tenacious includes thinking long-term and helping everyone around you to see the bigger picture, even when the present reality seems so bleak and unsettling. As much as you need to be reactive when handling problems as they come, you need to be responsive as well. That is how you will convert your employees and people around you to be believers and followers. Of course, the solution lies far into the future but it is only through your today’s tenacity that the future everyone wants will be achieved.

4. Be truthful

There is a lot of misinformation doing rounds on social media and that has led to confusion. Don’t fuel that trend. Be straightforward and honest in your messages, focusing more on how the virus can be defeated.

5. Ask for help when you need it

The people you work with have almost the same dreams and ambitions as you. They also have ideas that could help you navigate these murky waters of the COVID-19 era. That is why it is okay to go to them for ideas on how to move forward.

Conclusion

With a little more courage, emotional intelligence, and integrity, you will easily navigate the current coronavirus crisis. Remember to care for the people around you and to communicate effectively and with clarity. We shall overcome!

corporate

How COVID-19 is Reshaping Corporate Culture

The outbreak of COVID-19 is radically changing how many U.S. companies operate.
Public safety measures have closed physical offices and made remote working the norm. Travel restrictions have heightened the importance of efficient technology, communication, and collaboration. Executives have had to pivot quickly, reorganizing and rallying their workforce to push forward in an unprecedented time.
Some business leaders think COVID-19 marks a permanent turning point. And at the center of the seismic change is the reshaping of corporate culture – the beliefs and behaviors that influence how a company’s employees and management interact, says Chuck Crumpton (www.chuckcrumpton.com), author of The Jagged Journey: A Raw & Real Memoir about the Non-Perfect Path of Life & Business.
“The pandemic unquestionably will have lasting effects on corporate cultures,” Crumpton says. “There’s a growing sense it’s a fundamental shift, a new normal.
“It starts with empathy. Company leaders are seeing they need to listen more to their employees’ concerns, which are really everybody’s concerns right now. Many people have fear and uncertainty. It’s an opportunity to be more understanding and build relationships with the people you work with, and from there as a company, being better able to work in new and more collaborative ways.”
Crumpton explains the ways corporate culture will be reshaped in the wake of COVID-19 and how leaders can influence those positive changes:
Providing emotional support along with technical support. While technology is the key to keeping a remote workforce functioning at a high level, Crumpton says how leaders create a culture of mutual support will be a big factor in company culture and the employee experience. “You want to get people helping and looking out for each other,” Crumpton says. “Not every Google Chat, call or email has to be business-related.”
More, and better, communication. Working remotely, with managers and employees at different locations, places an emphasis on focused and more precise communication – even over-communication if necessary – to keep operations flowing, Crumpton says. “The use of video conferencing is very effective, keeping everyone connected and agendas targeted,” he says. “It increases responsiveness, attention span, and strengthens collaboration.”
More of a family feeling. “Working from home personalizes the workplace, partly because you are working from your personal space, and the imaginary line between family and work is basically gone,” Crumpton says. “People are out of their shell now, more relatable. Colleagues and clients are happy to share a screen with their kids or pets in the background. There’s a blending of the personal and professional, and it’s liberating.”
Better collaboration. “Your relationship with your teammates will improve,” Crumpton says. “Fighting a common enemy, the coronavirus, creates bonds in relationships. Everyone being in this together brings new levels of connection with colleagues and clients. You’re happy to see each other onscreen during this period of physical isolation, and that feeling can be brought forward when things settle down. The bond strengthens with teammates also by having worked together to solve problems and be proactive during difficult times. That means better collaboration and more enthusiasm for teamwork and shared success.”
“This crisis has challenged us in seemingly every way,” Crumpton says. “It’s been sudden, profound, and life-changing. Companies have been forced to make major changes, and in the process, they’re seeing the workplace and the world differently. It’s a great opportunity for growth and positive, permanent change.”
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Chuck Crumpton (www.chuckcrumpton.com) is the founder and CEO of Medpoint, LLC, a global consulting firm serving medical device and pharmaceutical companies in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Latin America. He is the author of The Jagged Journey: A Raw & Real Memoir about the Non-Perfect Path of Life & Business. He’s a featured keynote and session speaker at multi-industry events in the U.S., Europe and Asia for global organizations.
fear

How to Take Fear Out of the Workplace During COVID-19

Fear. Uncertainty. A growing sense of panic every time the president delivers a national address about the far-reaching effects of the coronavirus.

Chatter around the workplace these days is filled with questions like: Will I get sick? Will I have a job tomorrow? Can I afford to pay my rent?

What can you do when you’re facing fear in the workplace? The good news is that you can turn to four key principles: transparency, financial discipline, trust and respect for people, and a forward-focused approachIf you want to take fear out of the workplace, consider the following steps:

Embrace transparency. “Open-book management” is the idea that everyone inside your organization will be taught to understand the numbers that drive its success. Many growing business owners can be reluctant to share the truth about the financials inside their business. But they don’t realize the kind of risks they take on by doing so. They take on the burden of keeping the business alive — solo. In many cases, CEOs and owners are forced to shut the doors of the business to the shock of their associates, who are then left to wonder if they could have done something to contribute to a different outcome.

That’s why it’s amazing what happens when you have the courage to share the news — good and bad — with your people. Treat them like adults. Get their attention directed toward what they can do to help — versus panicking. Plus, the more eyes you have on a problem, the more ideas you’ll have to solve it. It’s an automatic check-and-balance on the security of your business.

Discuss your cash position. It’s been frustrating over the past few years as we’ve watched startup companies under the guidance of universities, incubators, and even investors embrace the idea that the only way they could grow was to take on debt. Some of you may find yourselves in an over-leveraged position, but that can also be an opportunity to engage your workforce and tell them the truth about the situation. If you do find yourself in trouble, ask your associates for ideas about how they can contribute to cutting costs — and increasing cash flow to the point where you can actually cover your debt obligations. You’ll be amazed at what can happen when you teach your people the rules of the game.

Protect jobs. Attracting talent and retaining it can be tough. We don’t have a future without people. In the not-too-distant past, executives sometimes became idols when downsizing jobs became the new mantra, laying off people at a time they needed those jobs the most. Something similar could happen today. Difficult times can convince companies to resort to layoffs to survive. But it is wise to think differently. Whoever has the most talented workforce will dominate their markets as soon as 2021. The time to get your organization ready for the next upturn is today — not when it’s already arrived. By then, it may be too late.

Get ready for the upturn. As bad and as uncertain as things look today, here’s a secret: it’s actually harder to get a company ready to take advantage of an upturn than it is to prepare for a downturn. Downturns can actually be opportunities to fix things inside your business that you can’t afford to invest the time and resources in when the economy is booming. While it might seem counter-intuitive, the current down market comes as a kind of short-term relief.

It’s giving us a chance to catch up — to make investments in our people and facilities — and to prepare ourselves to capitalize on the economic uptick that we expect to hit in late-2020, early-2021. By then, our workforce should be more stable and productive — and ready to take full advantage of the available opportunities. They have every incentive to do so, because, as owners of the business, they have a true stake in the outcome.

We know how painful things are today. But there’s no reason you can’t also dare to be successful. And learning how to build a culture based on transparency, financial discipline, trust and respect for people, and a forward-focused outlook, is a great place to start removing the fear that’s pervading your workplace.

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Rich Armstrong (www.greatgame.com) is the president of The Great Game of Business Inc., and co-author, with Steve Baker, of GET IN THE GAME: How To Create Rapid Financial Results And Lasting Cultural Change. This book is the how-to application of Jack Stack’s 1992 bestseller, The Great Game of Business. Armstrong and Baker co-authored the update of Stack’s book in The Great Game of Business – 20th Anniversary Edition. Armstrong has nearly 30 years of experience in improving business performance and employee engagement through the practice of open-book management and employee ownership.

Steve Baker (www.greatgame.com) is the vice president of The Great Game of Business Inc., and is a top-rated, sought-after speaker and coach on the subjects of open-book management, strategy, and execution, leadership, and employee engagement. Baker is a career marketing and branding professional and an award-winning artist.