A question that keeps cropping up as we weather these challenging economic times is, “What should we do during the downturn?” If you find yourself with more time than business on your hands, that may actually be a blessing rather than a curse.
Time is the most precious resource all of us have either in our business or personal lives. We can always make more money, but we can’t make more time. Taking the slack time some of us are faced with currently to work on the business and its systems rather than just working in the business can be an investment of our time that will later pay huge dividends. Often, in the “good times,” we’re so busy taking care of customers, meeting deadlines, and juggling growth that we ultimately don’t operate at our most efficient levels. We are effective in terms of getting the job done, but not optimally efficient in how we manage our resources. A slower time gives us the opportunity to study our business intently, work to fix what needs to be fixed, and rally the entire team around developing strategies that can be implemented as soon as the market cooperates. Or better yet, figure out a way to get the market to meet us on our own terms as soon as possible. By working on the entire system, we can fine tune it so we maximize every resource and take full advantage of every opportunity.
Larry Bossidy, former CEO of Honeywell and a former GE executive all-star, was on CNBC earlier this week with an optimistic outlook for the end of the year. He noted several companies who were using these slower times to invest in R&D, in the improvement of overall operations, and in gearing up with new product offerings to be ready to hit the market when times are more favorable. Click here to see for yourself. His book, Execution, is worth a look, too.
Don’t get me wrong, I certainly prefer boom times to bust, but a slower time isn’t the end of the world, either, if we remember that our job as leaders is to maximize our resources in every economic climate. Let the other guys waste time fretting, we’ll get busy fixing!