These days the economy is very uncertain. I think that everyone, no matter how fortunate their financial situation is worried about what can happen. Companies are also facing these problems – just look at what were some of the most powerful companies in the country – in the world. The big 3 automakers are looking for a bailout of proportions that we never would have imagined just a few years ago. These are the companies that make the news. But what about the little companies? What are they going through?
If you’re in a little company, now’s the time to really watch those expenses. It’s also time to figure out how to deliver the best product possible to keep the customers you have and gain any foothold available in the market. Unless their pockets are much deeper than yours, your competitors are going through the same pain that you are right now. Take advantage of it. In fact, if your competitors have much deeper pockets, they might not be focusing on being as lean and effective as they possibly can be. That will hurt them even more as things get better – as they invariably will.
As a manager, it is hard to motivate employees to be their best if they are fearful. The worst part is that scared employees can create a self fulfilling prophecy of failure. Right now isn’t the time to lose focus. It’s the time to make sure that everyone knows that their contribution is CRITICAL to the success of the business. Now is the time to put in extra effort. This doesn’t necessarily mean extra hours. It means extra creativity. It means extra focus on what is important and the ability to ruthlessly cull what is not. It also means the ability to change quickly when a effort is not paying the dividends that were anticipated. The more agile your company is – the lower the likelihood of failure and the lower the probability of layoffs. Once people understand this it can be a terrific motivator. No one wants to lose their jobs.