In a few days, Mr. Obama will take up residence in the White House, after patiently standing by since 11:00 p.m. ET on November 4. His cabinet, advisors, and economic recovery board—who have been working behind the scenes for weeks—officially will take the reins and begin tackling this once-in-a-century issue. Creating new jobs, implementing a public works program, and maintaining middle class tax cuts appear to be high priorities.
I've spoken to many printers in the last month who said: "I'm confident things will pick up soon," "We've survived other downturns, and we'll survive this one," "All you can do is wait for the recovery." I admire their spirit and perseverance, and celebrate the strong will that makes them a great part of the fabric of this nation. I respect everything they say; yet, in my opinion, this one is going to take awhile to turnaround, so hunker down.
It's not that I transformed suddenly into the pessimist of printing. You'll still find me at the front of the optimists' line. I believe we're going to come through this, and will be better on the other side. However, you're looking at the mother of all recessions—the one that reboots you into a more efficient and stronger organism. Change is in the air, and you need to adapt your thinking.
When the naysayers were predicting gloom over the past decade, most of us stuck our heads in the sand and said, "No way, these are different times." We got the second part right—these are different times—but missed badly on the first; forgetting there's always a day of reckoning.
So, how do you survive the 12 months ahead? First, be logical in your decision making. Patience is a virtue. You may want to delay major equipment investments until you see signs of things picking up over consecutive quarters. Second, be reasonable in your expectations. Don't plan for a leap in sales; you could end up running in place this year or falling behind. Third, be flexible in your approach. Just because you've always done it that way, doesn't mean it's the best method now. Seek input from others, especially peers and your team members.
The first decade of the 21st century has had more emotional ups and downs than a Julia Roberts movie: The rise and fall of the stock market, a Supreme Court presidential decision, 9/11, weapons of mass destruction, economic crisis, the election of the nation's first African American Commander in Chief.
Before you can say "mortgage credit default swaps," we'll be welcoming in a new decade, and I intend to be wearing a paper hat, blowing a horn, and lifting a glass in celebration of better days. See you there!
David Handler is the founder of Success Handler, LLC, an executive coaching firm that helps clients explore possibilities for achieving what they desire in business and life. Last month, as every holiday season, his family watched George Bailey discover all the people he affected on this earth. To start changing your tomorrow, send an email to email@example.com or visit www.successhandler.com.