There are some signs that the economy has begun to recover. The real question is: Will you be ready to take market-share when the economy really does start to turn up?
If you haven’t been reevaluating every aspect of your business during the last year or so, you had better get moving now. This recession was very different than any we have ever had. In the past when the economy would turn up, we could go back to business as usual and pretty much continue where we left off. This time when the economy turns up, there will be no business as usual.
The structural change that has taken place over the last couple of years has permanently changed the landscape of business. The supply chain has changed, relationships are different, vendors have consolidated, outsourcing versus doing more in-house is a concern, and more automation is necessary. Many of you have seen your customers disappear or consolidate. Also recognize that your customer’s customers have changed too. Figuring out who your next competitor will be is even scarier. It may not be the printer down the block, but may be a new online source offering lower cost and faster response.
In addition to all the external changes that have taken place, many of you have made internal changes to help weather the storm. You cut staff, or wages, or hours, or all of the above. You worked hard to reduce operating expenses wherever possible, held back on equipment or technology purchases, and just hunkered down in the hope that the recovery would soon sweep you up again. The bottom line is that you may have helped your company survive, but you may have injured its ability to thrive in the future.
Now more than ever, it will take a well built team to position your company to gain market share and resume growth and conduct business profitably in this new landscape. But if you wait until the economy has recovered before you start strengthening your team, you will get left in the dust. Now is the time to revisit your vision, examine your infrastructure, and take the staffing actions needed to position your team for success.
Here are some important thoughts to ponder as you look at your team:
“We must remember that it’s not the numbers that drive the people, but the people and team that drive the numbers…to build a strong organization, you must build your core foundation—consisting of your people and team. Without a strong core, you’ll have weak energy, weak performance, and weak results.”
—Jon Gordon, author of “The Energy Bus”
“Those who build great companies understand that the ultimate throttle on growth for any great company is not market, or technology, or competition, or products. It is one thing above all others: the ability to get and keep enough of the right people.”
—Jim Collins, author of “Good to Great”
“Companies that manage people right will outperform companies that don’t by 30 to 40%.”
—Harvard Business Review
“A competent, stable, well led workforce is critical to gain a competitive advantage.”
—Debra Thompson, co-author of “No More Rotten Eggs”
Only Good Eggs Need Apply
Below is a mini-check list I recommend you use today to ensure you are ready to thrive as the market turns up:
Review your vision and mission statement along with your strategies to make sure they reflect the structural changes that have taken place. If you went through serious decline, it may be because your old vision was outdated. As Jim Collins puts it, “You must decide where the bus is going.” Now is not the time to say, “We always came back before, so it will work this time too.” Every reputable economist out there is telling us differently.
Once you have a realistic vision of the future, evaluate your current infrastructure. Is it set up to carry out your strategies, accomplish your mission, and achieve your vision? Do you need different seats or functions, different workflow, different processes?