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Winning in the ruthless reality of recession and recovery: 5 essential steps

How you and I emerge from the challenge of 2009 will be very much up to us.  The landscape of the next 6-8 quarters will be very different to the last 8 quarters. Relying upon the personal, team and corporate behaviours that served us well then might not be a good idea. To paraphrase an oft repeated warning from the Financial Services sector: ‘Past performance is no guarantee of future success.’

You know that recessions are part of the natural business cycle. They have a purpose. The fat is cut away, the froth is blown off the top, the flabby is made firm. Ruthless realities reassert themselves. The fittest survive and future-proof the business gene pool – until the next recession.

When times are benign, business is easier won and less than perfect delivery to customers is absorbed into the cost of doing business. Luxury!
In leaner times the opportunities are fewer and every mistake is more costly. Period.

Most people are already working flat out, and can’t work longer – yet all of our results over the next 6-8 quarters will be harder won.

So, here are 5 tips to help us face 2009 with more confidence and to ‘Keep calm whilst carrying on’:

  1. Next year, more than any other in recent memory, we must create and control meaningful goals – personal, professional and corporate – to carry us successfully through the downturn. Let’s consign the ‘coulds’ and ‘shoulds’ of previous resolutions to history.
  2. We must future-proof ourselves. Deliberately polishing up the knowledge, skills and experience we already possess. What strengths can we build on?
  3. We must get real with our workload management habits. In how we plan, control and deliver our results within our demanding workloads, we must master our technology not enslave ourselves to our inbox. Specifically:
    a. The way we control and deliver our competing priorities day to day
    b. The way we plan and control out of quarter deliverables against the in-quarter imperatives
    c. The way we manage our most important relationships to achieve these results.
  4. We must build renewed rigour into our management systems. Uncompromising professionalism is the new standard of those who will thrive.
  5. We must manage our own motivation. The best way to do this is by keeping our main goals before us – beside our hectic daily schedules; holding ourselves accountable for our actions towards those goals; keeping the ‘Right score’ alongside our mandated score card, and celebrating success often. This is how we can ‘Keep Calm and Carry on’ whilst others fall victim to the mood of the moment.

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