Staying the Course in Rough Waters


Waves of negative quarterly reports. Lightning-fast layoffs and cutbacks. Winds of bad news. We’ve been in economic downturn cycles before. But slowly, finally, things are slowly starting to look up. Here are my thoughts on how to prepare for smoother sailing as well as stay the course in rough waters:

Think like a newbie. If someone approached you with a business plan for your existing company, what would you tell them? This is a good time to bring in coaches who can offer a fresh perspective on achieving your company’s vision.

Act like an entrepreneur. What do Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and Disney have in common? According to, they all started during economic downturns. So did half of the 30 companies that comprise the Dow Jones industrial average. In fact, entrepreneurial startups by laid-off and downsized employees, managers and executives often help get the economy growing again. What can you learn from companies (like Southwest Airlines) who epitomize lean and mean?

Connect the dots. What people, resources and strategies need to be in place for your organization to achieve its existing business goals? Start planning now to get what you need in the future.

Go against the grain. Listen to a variety of perspectives and strategies, including the ones you don’t agree with. It will make you a more well-balanced decision-maker.

Tighten the purse strings. Get efficient when you don’t have to. Spend money on the things that help you make money.

Take a deep breath. Literally. Deep, cleansing breaths can help lower blood pressure and bring calm, both of which you’ll need to think clearly as you plan your company’s next move.

What is the most effective method you’ve employed for thriving in tough times? Thoughts?