Possibilities Not Problems During Difficult Times: Four
Strategies that Work
By Pat Heydlauff
Today’s unstable economy requires you to have a “we’re going to
succeed” attitude. When there is so much chaos, change always
follows and leaves room for great opportunities. So how can you
limit the damage caused by all the recent turmoil and negativity?
You need to not only manage the change, but also focus on the
opportunities and take action to turn them into new jobs and bottom
takes more than managing efficiently and effectively to turn chaos
and change into calm, so you can focus on finding the opportunities.
It also takes more than commitment to the “we’re going to succeed”
mantra to maintain market share and create future growth.
To manage the chaos of the current economic crisis and its
potential damage to your business and employees, you need to be
aware of what the chaos is doing. Are sales plummeting? Are your
employees buying into the doom and gloom of the news cycle? Are you
losing market share and dipping into financial reserves?
1. First and
foremost, develop a plan for dealing with the chaos.
By now everyone has or is developing a plan to
financially deal with a long-term economic crisis but many have not
yet developed a plan for dealing with the emotional crisis of
watching their world around them crumble. The chaos created by
moving from balance and stability to precariousness and uncertainty
can be debilitating for all levels of a business enterprise.
Balance in the workplace must be re-established. This
movement throughout a business can begin at any level – from a
department head in the warehouse to the CEO of the organization.
Begin to bring balance back into your business by re-visiting your
company vision first, and then your company mission statement.
Involve everyone in the company in this process from the top down,
the bottom up and the inside out. Discover if these documents are
still relevant during such an economic downturn.
By evaluating these documents as a whole company, instead of
just by a limited few, you will help bring balance and a bit of
stability back into the workplace. Make sure your mission statement
is short – six words or less – so it can easily be memorized. This
process will also help you expose problems that can be corrected and
open doors to new possibilities. Survival during difficult economic
times is the mother of new ideas, products and techniques.
communicate, communicate. Employees at all levels need a cheerleader; and they need to know
someone is in their corner looking out for them and encouraging
them. Communication is key – from all levels of management and
leadership to all levels of employees. Communication is the glue
that holds a thriving company together and helps manage a company
struggling through difficult times.
Depending on the size of your business, use all of the
electronic equipment you have to communicate: e-mails, CDs, videos,
texting, social media sites, etc. Don’t just send bad news such as
chopping the budget for the fifth time in two months, or more people
need to be laid off. Rather, focus on the good news or encouraging
messages. The old adage, “no news is good news,” no longer works.
Create an employee briefing sheet and add a motivational
quote or a joke at the end to lift up their spirits. The more
informed your employees are, the less precarious and uncertain they
feel, thus the more efficient and productive they will be.
Communication also builds better employee-employer relationships,
which are important for long-term survival and growth.
3. Create a
business vision board and place one in every department, lunch room
and water cooler area.
Unless you have electronic flat screens in those locations, the best
way to create a vision board is with a bulletin board and push pins.
The vision board should proudly display your company vision and
mission statement. It should also feature your mantra such as “We’re
going to succeed!” To communicate more effectively, don’t just use
words on vision boards – add visuals such as pictures, graphs and
Encourage everyone to submit ideas for inclusion on the
board. One of those ideas just might be the key to showing you where
to look for the next opportunity. By reading and seeing the
company’s future on your vision board, management and employees
alike are encouraged and hopeful that a brighter more stable future
4. Begin with the
end in mind with everything you do. Bringing balance and stability back into your business means
staying focused on the positive, not the negative. When in doubt,
ask the simple question “Will this move me (the company) closer to
or further from accomplishing the mission?” A simple rule like this
can be understood by everyone at every level of the business,
whether your organization consists of two or two thousand.
Begin with the end in mind when you prioritize tasks,
production or sales. Begin with the end in mind when you evaluate
and prioritize your time. Even begin with the end in mind when on
personal time whether with your family, doing recreational
activities or watching the television. In fact, in order to maintain
balance watch as little negative news as possible, find things to do
in the evenings that are creative and help regenerate the right side
of your brain so you can better cope with hectic daytime schedules.
When you control
the amount of havoc chaos creates in the workplace, you are better
able to manage all of the changes bombarding you daily. By
encouraging and involving employees in the company vision, the
balance and stability you create will lead to maintaining your
market share, and you won’t have to dip into financial reserves.
All of this adds up to finding the better opportunities that lie
ahead – which means keeping people employed and improving bottom
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