Posts Tagged 'tough times'

Teams are out in tough times!

In a football or baseball game, one person alone cannot win. To succeed, people need to combine indivudual skills, ideas and enthusiam for the good of all. But folks, staying afloat in a recesssion of this magnitude is not a team sport; at least not typically.

In times like these, my experience is clear on one point; it’s the strong, persistent individual who succeeds first. Granted, a great individual performance can and and should pull weaker players along, and the team can win. But it is the never say die leader in the group that makes it happen.

So, have your team meetings, talk about working together and helping each other, etc. After that, look for the determined person who simply is not going to be a victim of tough times. That person is your winner.

I know, sounds corny; even writing this I feel sort of corny and old fashioned. But in my consultng work, I am exposed to people every day, looking for two things: first, someone to blame for the current situation. Second, someone to solve their problems. Think about it. I’m betting you’ll agree.

Who is to blame? Our culture; high living standards and the unrealistic, never could have lasted bubble of the last 10 years. Who will solve it?  We will! The same people who allowed this country to get into the hole we’re in will pull us out. The only problem is that most younger workers and managers have never experienced anything like today’s business world. To them, it’s like a bad dream that never should have happened; not to America.

So, where are the answers? The solutions to our business probems are within every organization I work with. That’s right…every one! If we can just get over the shock and awe of realization that, as 9-11 was real, so is our bagged out economy. Once we accept that fact, we can begin to create positive, forward planning and ride the coming bounce out of this mess.

I guess my point is that, when times are tough, we should encourage individuals to come up with ideas and suggestions that we can at least try; creativity that, as in recessions, even depressions past, pulled us through.

One thing is certain, anyone who sits and waits for Washington to save us is in for a long, long wait!

Comments welcome!


Wake up call for Gen Y workforce

Achtung! Wake up kids, it’s a new ball game!  Listen closely now, I’ve got a new word to add to your vocabulary….layoff.

Making my rounds as a small business consultant, in the past 90 days, I’ve noticed a perceptible change in the younger, less experienced workforce…the Gen Y folks in their early 20s. Now, I don’t want to make too much of this observation but…the new generation of workers is getting a rude awakening. No reason to repeat what you all know…times are tough. In some industries, real tough. And, compared to a just one year ago, layoffs are far more common.

Around the water cooler, staff members in the slowing home services business wonder…”Will I be next?”  As I said, to me, this newfound concern for job security is clear.

What does it mean? More importantly, what does it matter?  I believe those of us whose concern it is to manage and lead in tough times, have a real opportunity!  An older member of the management profession, I’ve seen it, lived it all before…backin the late 80s.  Recession then led to job cuts and more work for those who were kept on the team.  And, I must say, we learned alot about productivity, as delivered on a daily basis by concerned workers.

I suppose all I’m saying is….Maslow had it right! His well known “hierarchy of needs” theory is proven to be fact over and over again. Human beings react to the most urgent, most threatening situations in ways that preserve their lives and lifestyles. Nothing new here.  The point is, when people are worried about thier jobs, they tend to listen more closely to those who have the power to end their careers.  “What”, they wonder, “must I do to keep this job?” 

Smart leaders understand that, if only for a fleeting moment in time, Gen Y workers, self-possessed and focused on balance, flexibility and lots of control and immediate gratification in their lives, are going to pay more attention to how they can add value to the company.  This is a good thing!

Smart leaders will sieze the moment!  I’m not talking about grinding an extra 10 percent out of each frightened worker…I’m talking about teaching the new generation of workers how good they can be! Why? Because most have no idea how productive a person can be when focused on the task at hand vs. a consuming belief that life must be fun 24/7!

So, go for it boss! Crank up the training…have more team meetings. Let your best people know that, together, you will weather the recession and emerge a better, more productive team than ever before.

Teach your people to multi-task. Cross train everyone. Show people how good they can be and recognize the positive growth when you see it!

Let’s go America…time to turn off MSNBC and CNN…time to cut out the negative thinking….time to pull you team up by the boot straps! You can do it…your workers can do it….if you understand that it really does take an energized team approach to leading.

Go for it! After all…what is your next best option?