Five Ways to ‘Rock it Out’ Through a Downturn
Posted by Alex Chriss on February 3, 2009
Inspired by Alex Barnett’s list of 7 Tips to a Successful Landing at a Large Company, I decided to make my own list (lists are soooo in!) So, I put down my thoughts on 5 ways to manage through a tough economy.
Everyone is hurting – period. So if that’s the case, then the companies that can successfully navigate these rocky times can gain significant market share, establish themselves for the long-term, and come out on top. I see this time as a huge opportunity. So, here are some thoughts on how to be successful:
1) Every person counts – a lot!
Each person in your company or team is more important than ever: There is lots of great advice about spending, but the reality is, it’s people that make things happen and when money is tight, they can make the difference between success and failure. Retain your rock stars. If you can afford to, hire more rock stars – there are plenty available right now for the right opportunity. I’ve been overwhelmed that within the past month, we’ve been able to bring on-board Raghavan “Rags” Srinivas and Tara Hunt. These are two folks that can absolutely accelerate the pace of our development and bring experience you can’t pay for any other way. Rock stars can do amazing things – and likewise, non-rock stars can drag an entire team down. Make sure each person is contributing great results to the team.
2) Partnerships are critical, but require cooperation and mutual dedication:
I spend much of my day thinking about potential strategic partnerships – and frankly there are TON’s out there. Plenty of opportunity to take 1+1 and make 48. Here’s the problem….most conversations go something like this:
Yeah – no brainer!
Cool – you got resources?
So here’s my advice…
-Prioritize resources for the BEST partnership opportunities out there; you can’t afford to do many, but you can’t afford not to do the best ones…BUT…
-Only if there is mutual dedication. Boss Bill’s guide to great partnerships is even more important when resources are tight:
As Bill might say (highly paraphrased)…”Great partnerships happen when”:
-Both parties win
-Both parties are excited about the partnership
-Both parties are invested in making is successful
Simple, but true.
3) It’s not sympathy, or empathy – it’s integrity:
Your customers and partners are hurting too – it’s easy to be sympathetic and if you’re hurting too, it’s even easier to be empathetic. But this is business – stuff has to get done. Pity parties are for losers – Your customers want to know how you’re going to make their lives better. So tell them – and be open and honest – Just as partnerships require mutual dedication to succeed, customers require trust to commit and grow. Maintain integrity in all facets of your business at all costs and you’ll foster customers for life.
4) Be the underdog:
I don’t know about you, but I always root for the underdog. They’re not supposed to win – they’re facing incredible odds – how could they possibly pull it off?
Underdogs are scrappy, tough, they turn non-believers into rabid fans. Pick your favorite example – Rocky, Rudy, Hickory, sweep-the-leg, whatever, and think like the underdog. And what makes the underdog so lovable? They know that they are the underdog and their only hope for success is to out-work, out-think, out-perform everyone else. It’s their only chance – they have to flat out out-execute everyone else.
News flash – you are either hurting or at risk of hurting very soon – get your team’s thinking now about how to out-execute everyone else and brace yourself for the cool shower of success. (Mmm…sticky)
5) Focus, Focus, Focus:
If you have a strategy you believe in – focus on that strategy and eliminate all the other noise. Be creative in execution of your strategy, but now is not the time to be trying too many new directions. You likely don’t have the resources to follow through to completion. So buckle-down, focus on your core strategic priorities and out-execute everyone else – The opportunities are there – they just take work and focus.