For the past year I've heard motivational speakers and positive thinkers across the land saying "I refuse to participate in the recession." What a shame. They may have missed out on the best opportunity of their lifetimes. But it may not be too late.
Even though we seem to be on our way out of the current economic mess, if you act now, you can still get in on the goodies.
A recession presents incredible opportunity. That's not positive thinking. That's reality. I've got two young daughters and my own personal reality of a future filled with years of paying for music lessons, braces, college, maybe weddings and gosh knows what else. I can't afford to miss any opportunity, anywhere, anytime. So I chose to not only participate in the recession, I embrace it for all it's worth. I don't want to have to tell my little girls that I sat out the competitive chance of a lifetime.
I wish no ill will or misfortune on anyone, not even my competition. But this just may be the perfect time for some of my competitors to consider finding other lines of work. I feel compelled to help them in that job search.
Consider these recession realities:
So what can you do to take advantage of this fading recession before it's too late? Here's what you can do short term, beginning now:
Long term we should pay attention to what we've learned in the past couple of years. This recession has caused most people to reexamine the way they make decisions, including buying decisions. A recession clarifies. A recession makes us remember what's important in business. It can do us the favor of making us look back "inside the box."
By "inside the box" I mean your customers' basic expectations of you. A tough economy and hard times tend to take us back to basics. To position yourself well coming out of the recession, focus on the factors can differentiate you no matter what the economic conditions:
Earlier this year I gave the keynote speech at a worldwide leadership meeting for a major corporation. Before I spoke the CEO gave the opening speech. He emotionally implored his leadership team to take advantage of the current economic situation. "This recession's not going to last forever," he said. "One day before we know it we'll wake up and this thing will be over. I just hope and pray that we don't miss our chance. We have to take advantage of this recession now!"
He wasn't being blindly optimistic or unrealistically positive. He was being smart and tough and doing his job as CEO. He was leading.
When your kids ask "What did you do in the recession?" be sure that you can look them in the eye and say "I won."
©2009 Joe Calloway, author of Becoming a Category of One: How Extraordinary Companies Transcend Commodity and Defy Comparison
Joe Calloway, author of Becoming a Category of One: How Extraordinary Companies Transcend Commodity and Defy Comparison, is a consultant on employee engagement and performance whose client list reads like a Who's Who of business -- from newspapers in Sweden, hotels in Great Britain, and computer companies in South Africa to world brands like BMW and IBM. He speaks frequently on business trends and has been inducted into the International Speakers Hall of Fame.
For more information, visit JoeCalloway.com.
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