Leading Your Business in Turbulent Times
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Weathering The Storm

With all the news (positive and negative) spinning around us these days, some of us feel like we are in the eye of a hurricane. Some business owners are cautious, to the point of being scared. They are frozen, unable to move as their business gets weaker and weaker.

Leading Your Business in Turbulent Times

Other business owners are thriving despite the economic climate. But how? Is it just luck? No. They are doing three things:

1. They have a coherent plan – and they stick to it.

This is not a time to bury your head in the sand and wait for things to blow over. Owners of thriving businesses look at the world as it is and figure out where they belong in it. They continue to ask themselves that all-important question: How can they provide value to their clients (as measured by them) and grow their businesses? From there, they make a plan.

Take your best guess about what the future holds. Write down your assumptions, and then formulate a strategy that will help you to win in that future state. A plan like that can help you to be solid even as the political, economic and cultural winds blow.

2. They monitor their progress, and ruthlessly evaluate.

Owners of thriving businesses check in with their plans frequently. They trust it because it represents their best guess, but they keep close tabs on it. At least monthly, and perhaps twice a month, they pull out the plan, review the assumptions, and check their progress. They ask themselves: Does this still seem like the right course? What has changed in the environment or my assumptions that would make me want to change it? If there is no better information than what they had when they made the plan, they just manage they progress.

Stay on your team to complete your plan on time, and on budget. Focusing on executing the plan provides a sense of stability for you and them. It means there is a consistent measure against which you can all determine your success.

3. They turn down the volume.

It may be difficult to resist the temptation to read every new update on the situation in Washington, or each new piece of economic news, but owners of thriving businesses do just that. But, they don’t stick their heads in the sand either. They check in with the news once every few days, not every few minutes or hours.

No one knows where we are headed, but you should know where your business is headed better than anyone. So listen to the news and the experts, but do it less frequently.

If it’s been a while since you’ve gone offsite and made a through review of your company’s performance and direction, now is the time to take that time away. Go on your own first, spend some time reviewing the past, and then look into the future. Then, get your team members on board. Hire a facilitator (so that you can fully participate) and do the same thing, agreeing together about what the future holds, and how you will respond to it. That clarity will pay big dividends as the waves of uncertainty come crashing in.

Photo credit: miamism

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