Long-Term Thinking in a Recession

by pwilson on April 22, 2009

Ok. Here we are in a down economy, we are being bombarded with negative information on the news, and it appears that many businesses are hunkered down to wait out the storm. “We are not hiring, we are not buying, and we are attempting to survive” is what I hear from many of my clients and professionals I speak to. This is how many businesses are reacting and it is contributing to the recession and challenging the recovery.

I am a capitalist. I believe in the American system. Many companies will adapt and be successful or disappear. Companies will be created and thrive as a result of the recession. My team plans on thriving. We choose proactive long-term thinking as our mantra; work hard at keeping our business moving forward, and not getting stuck in negative news.

Yes, we did reduce our monthly expenses. No, we did not lay off any of our employees. We have too much invested in training and relationship building not to invest in keeping our people employed at this time. Breaking up the “dream team” is anti-productive and not an option. We negotiated with our vendors, we have cut our budget for travel & national conferences. We did increase our marketing budget and invested in developing new resources. We offered cost saving promotions and free trainings to the business community.

It is clear that the economy is beginning to improve. Thinking long-term; adapting, changing, continuing to evolve and most importantly resisting being reactive to the negative news has positioned us to continue growing as the economy improves.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Scott Greenwood April 27, 2009 at 10:25 am

Paul – Thanks for inviting me to participate.

It is interesting during the tough economy how some of the dynamics of business are reversed. For instance the law of supply and demand. We just came from high demand for qualified applicants in short supply to a low demand with great supply. Certainly this creates challenges for those in the staffing profession, but it may be helpful to remain cognizant of the challenges of the business client/prospect during the hiring process in times like these. Create opportunities from those challenges.

For the client/prospect, increased supply of applicants means a lot more work reviewing more resumes perhaps resulting in many more interviews. Actually they’ll have more chances to make hiring mistakes. Become the “solution” that reduces their chance of error. Help them remove the wrinkles from the process.

Although we here at Greenwood Management Resources are not in the staffing business, helping remove the wrinkles is pretty much what we do for our clients but more through assessments and management/sales training. When you get to the bottom of it, the goal seems to always be the same for the client: Get the most highly qualified, motivated employee on board cost effectively. Ramp them up quickly, efficiently and end up with ongoing top productivity with the least amount of conflict or management intervention. Simple, ain’t it? Here’s a thought: Hiring your own employees without help (like staffing experts and assessments and training consultants) is like hunting in the dark. Help them turn the lights on!

-SG

Ron Valpey April 27, 2009 at 10:10 am

As Warren Buffett said, “When the tide goes out, you see who is swimming naked.” The tide has gone out and many of those naked swimmers, troubled companies, will be no more – if they aren’t already. Such is the nature of capitalism, for better or for worse.

Belt tightening and conservative stances are a by-product of the current situation and unfortunately a catch –22, a vicious circle in their own right. We cut spending to save ourselves and in doing so, hurt many others. However, deleveraging is never pleasant but it is a prerequisite, too long ignored, for fiscal fitness. Just going from a negative personal savings rate to a positive rate, as we have, is akin to losing weight or quitting smoking – not easy, but still a great thing.

The greatest opportunity always lies with the greatest desolation and this time of challenge is no exception. It is a valuable opportunity to improve efficiency and engage new opportunities.

Tammy Eccard April 27, 2009 at 7:00 am

With the down economy, I not only think it is about becoming creative in how you do things but to continue providing training and resources so that the employees can get the job done even though there is more work and less time. We have implemented training and resource books internally for revisiting Excell, Work and Outlook training so that the little timesavers can be reviewed and provide a quick reference guide. It has been a success because it is helping to alleviate potential issues.

Secondly. ongoing communication is key — praising a job well done (yes, we hear it all the time but do we do it), providing updates on how the company is doing, providing resources and tools that can help, reminding employee about your EAP program, and most important of all walking around and checking in. Those are the “little” things that seem to make a difference.

Michael Restivo April 25, 2009 at 8:22 am

Paul,
Great post…excited to be a part of the new blog. At Bullhorn our mantra is we are choosing not to participate in the recession. This does not mean we have not changed how we work as sales people. There are adjustments that have to take place. We just choose not to participate with the negativity. It is time for us all to recognize that yes we will have to work twice as hard to make half as much money but as you stated we are in a capitalist country and hard work in times like this is what separates the men from the boys so they say.

Our team is filled with some very young sales people which have never seen or experienced something like this. A lot of us (myself included) look at this as an opportunity to prove ourselves. So many conversations end up being about..”well I survived the.com burst or well I survived the early 90s” A lot of my colleagues have not had that chance to earn their stripes and are buckling down to do just that.

-MR

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