by Michael Holland     

The sky is falling and you have yet another staff meeting at 1:00.  The USA is in a recession, the markets are falling, or rising to fall yet again, budgets are being reviewed/cut, and layoffs are being announced.  Once-venerable companies teeter on the sharp edge of bankruptcy or engulfment by a competitor, only to be remembered in an MBA case study in the near future.

A structural shift in the economy – local, state, country, global – is impacting all businesses. What are you doing to structurally shift your management priorities and style to be prepared to take advantage of the opportunities that may exist?  YES, there are opportunities.  Who among your peers has successfully managed a business function, or business, through the forthcoming changes?

This is fertile ground for leaders to show their stuff and build new organizational management techniques.  Now is the time when good leaders become great leaders by running on instincts, leveraging solid management techniques and testing new techniques.  The core competencies of your business function or team you lead will become clearly evident as traumatic events ripple through your organization. Good leaders will seek this shift in status quo to see the business function’s core competencies and talented resources in new ways.

You need to invest time now, today, to think through your resource capacity, workflow constraints, and capabilities.  Here are some thought-provoking questions/statements to get you started.

  • Your budget is being cut in half. How will you allocate your resources in the most efficient and effective way?  Where is your true talent within the team?
  • If only 40% of the work that flows through your department, business function or business will be there in the future, describe the work that will remain.  Answer the who, what, where, when and how of the work.
  • Make a confidential list today of your staff, force ranking them along 3 scales:
      1. General performance measures from the past year
      2. Nimbleness – capacity and ability to adapt
      3. Survivability Factor – talent/ability/skills/energy that could be necessary for the company to continue as a viable entity
  • What talent would I acquire from a competitor that isn’t as nimble?
  • What policies, procedures, bureaucracy are non-critical in our new world?