Employers need to show true leadership and make some tough calls in order to weather economic downturns
by Andy Cutten

Progress – Top 101, October 2009

We know that we are in a recession and we know that there will be a recovery. Historically, successful companies survive the “bad times” and thrive in “good times.” Company owners and executives cannot effectively manage on hope or in panic and survive these turbulent times. Now is not the time to abandon a trusted vision but is the time to reassess the reasonableness of goals and objectives and associated strategies, to adjust the economic model, and to protect core competencies while streamlining the organization. And never has it been more crucial that effective internal and external communications are undertaken in a consistent and constant manner.

Earlier in this decade, Canadian exporters lost the international marketplace advantage of a weak Canadian dollar. The resetting of the Canadian dollar at par with the U.S. greenback exposed a lack of productivity in this country. In order to retain all or a portion of these global revenues, companies were forced to revamp operational processes and/or accept lower margins and profits. It was a very painful experience. The current situation arguably is worse because the need to further improve productivity is required for the domestic market as well and the recession is shrinking the global marketplace. Enhanced competitiveness will not necessarily translate into additional or even retained revenue streams.

However, this turmoil is creating incredible opportunity for those companies that not only survive the downturn but also position themselves properly in their chosen markets. The auto industry will continue to be one of the dominant economic sectors but, as we know, the major players will be different and some familiar names will cease to exist. The same is happening in world financial markets. There is a strong likelihood that the same chaos is impacting your sector.

Now is the time to focus on future opportunity while coping with the financial and operational stress of today’s environment.

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