Ostrich vs. Detective: Handling Difficult Circumstances
Posted by Anni M.
According to Peggy Klaus, a corporate consultant and author of the book, “Brag,” in the face of dire economic circumstances, executives tend to bury their heads in the sand. It’s no secret that the recession has hit businesses hard. Many of them have gone under, unable to weather the immense storm that continues to rage through our country’s coffers. And many of the survivors are in rough shape, having had to lay off a huge percentage of their employees. From the outside, the picture is bleak, but how must it look from the inside? How are these executives handling their losses? Is Klaus right, are they just burying their heads in the sand? If they are, I expect it’s just a matter of time before their companies buckle again, this time permanently.
You can’t run a successful business if you’re too afraid to face the bottom line. Fixing problems takes a real effort. It depends on a clever strategy, hard work, and consistent focus. I think this is an emotional issue—if we can’t face our fears and our worries, we can’t learn and grow. This is as true for interpersonal relationships as it is for running a business. Problem solving starts with careful observation, impartial decision-making, and (sometimes painful) awareness of every aspect of a troubled business’ operations. As we’ve seen in our government’s handling (or lack thereof) of the big banks, Wall Street executives, and Madoff-style investors, ignoring a pervasive and ongoing problem will not make it disappear. It will only compound the problem. Nobody wants to fire employees! But it is the job of the shrewd CEO to manage the business as a business, not as a group of friends.
It’s not just upper management that can learn from the open-eyed problem solving of the best CEOs. This lesson applies to everyone. Working in an office environment can be intimidating, especially when the financial picture is grim. But keeping quiet and going about your job isn’t the answer. Sometimes clichés say it best: if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. It’s the quiet, unassuming employees that often get fired first. They may not cause a stir but they’re not working dynamically to help solve problems either. When you speak up and help out, put your best efforts into helping create a plan for moving the company forward, you make yourself indispensable.
The companies that survive difficult economic downturns are the ones that play detective, working to identify problems and come up with creative solutions.
As a Creative Communications Strategist, Victoria is known for her electrifying Keynote Performances™ and the transformational workshops and coaching sessions she creates for elite executives, high performing teams, thought leaders and entrepreneurs..