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Strategies for challenging times
Almost every executive I speak with talks about uncertain times and running into headwinds that may lower profitability this year. It is not new to talk about business using weather metaphors were used to hearing stormy weather ahead for business and so on.
What is new this year is that for the first time in a long time there is serious talk about recession. Many of my clients are directly affected by the mortgage crisis and certainly the tight credit situation helps very few companies. Smart executives dont have to spend their time worrying about business headwinds and oncoming recessions.
There a much better use of time right now and we are recommending that our clients use their time and their resources very carefully and intelligently.
Specifically we recommend the following:
- Listen to your employees ideas about how to improve your business RIGHT NOW. The best ideas come from the bottom up not the top down.
- Take a bold look at your management team and cut any dead wood. You cant be sentimental here you need to field the best possible team your survival depends on it.
- Embrace what youve always excelled in build on your historic strengths. If you have gotten away from them during the boom years, revisit what made you successful your legacy will be a source of strength.
- Protect your company by protecting your future. Make decisions that will still wear well after you survive the current blip.
- Stay the course. Dont panic or fold when things get rough; keep focused on what you determine is your big picture.
Our lives are filled with so much to do that multi-tasking seems inevitable and to a point it may be true. However, depending on the complexity of the task, it takes anywhere from 20 minutes to 1.5 hours to get your head back in the game once you have been interrupted. This cant be efficient.
As much as possible, cluster activities and minimize interruptions your own or others. For example, save emails and read and answer them all once an hour or better yet, twice a day. Most are not urgent and can wait.
Turn your telephone off, put a do not disturb on your door. Schedule time to plan and organize treat it as religiously as a trip to the doctor. Let people know you are not available at that time.
Many people get an adrenalin rush from handling so many things at once. While it can be exciting it also can be a road to Burnout. Watch how you are spending your time being careful to carve out blocks of time where you can be uninterrupted and productive.
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