“You have three choices. You can panic. You can choose to do nothing. Or you can act, and begin to innovate, change and adapt for the inevitable upturn!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
It’s pretty obvious that we’re going to have a recession, an economic downturn of sorts. It’s what you do with that fact that matters.
The unique context of what is now unfolding is going to be rather interesting. Since we’ve been in the longest period of economic growth in history – since early 2009 – we have an entire generation who have always known a stock market that only goes up, interest rates that always go down, home equity values that always increase, fictional assets such as crypto to make them feel rich and prices that always remain stable. All those assumptions are being tossed about with abandon, and it is interesting to watch their reaction. Add into this reality the fact that it seems a good portion of the population lives in a fictional political reality of moderate insanity, fed by their delusions of grievance, and, well, whoah!
I take it all in stride. By my count, I think this is the sixth economic downturn I’ve stared down in my career – I’m getting pretty good at them. I also found substantial business opportunities in the last two downturns, and plan to do so with this one – for me, it’s all about the opportunity! It was after the post-dot.com collapse of 2001 and the global economic meltdown of 2007-8 that I developed a global brand of being a go-to guy for advising global organizations on how to innovate through the recovery, booked by many global brands. Consider this video – I’m on stage with Yum! Brands (Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC) talking strategies for moving forward in 2009 despite ongoing economic volatility.
Focus on growth. Nurture optimism. Pursue opportunity. It isn’t that hard. It’s what you do right now that matters. Economic downturns are but small blips on an ongoing trajectory of human progress. What I’ve learned over 30 years is that it is our ability to keep focused on the future in the face of massive uncertainty is that our ability to move forward defines our success.
With that in mind, you can:
- Freeze: do nothing
- Panic: make rash decisions on structure, markets, and investments.
- Innovate: respond to rapid market change through innovation, particularly with respect to strategies, structure, capabilities, markets, products, activities
The first choice won’t serve you well. Inaction is not a good choice, because markets, customers’ behavior, cost inputs, and just about everything else will change even faster now, and so you need to change faster. The second choice might seem to be the only response given the velocity of events as they occur, and it will be an unfortunate reality for some as this new era of volatility unfolds. But for others, panic will truly get you nowhere.
Option 3 — continuous innovation — remains the only thing to focus on. You need to work hard to align your current strategies with fast-paced economic events.
Why? History bears this out – here’s a clip where I’m referencing a very powerful study!
Everything you need to know is in this video.