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Leading in Turbulent Times

It is interesting to look back at the last two years of economic and political turmoil and still see all the success around us. While some have certainly suffered and continue to suffer, the majority of businesses are doing very well. I was having coffee with a business friend yesterday who is clearly optimistic about the future. I started to wonder what was different between now and last year. Yes, there is some improvement in the economy, but the bigger reason his company is doing well is his leadership skills. 

Leading in Turbulent Times

Mary Stier, a good friend and business consultant of mine wrote a chapter for our book, How Business Gets Done, Words of Wisdom by Central Iowa Entrepreneurs, on leading in turbulent times. Here is a quote that will give you an idea of what made this such a good read:

"The farm crisis, The '90s recession. The dot-com bust. Sept. 11. The stock market crash. In the midst of turbulent times, colleagues and customers lament, "It's never been so bad." With a bit of perspective, I see now that it is not, nor ever was, bad or good. Instead, if you reframe how you think about any business environment, it provides the opportunity for much success."

Some of the words of advice she provided:

  • Don't allow tough times to be an excuse for your staff to justify bad numbers.
  • Be mindful not to try so many ideas that you waste valuable human and hard capital.
  • Build a list of customer qualifiers that tell you within 10 minutes if the customer fits you and your business.
  • Be kind to everyone you meet. You never know when they may hold your future in their hands.

As we become adjusted to the new economic realities of 2011 and beyond, these are good words of advice going forward. I believe we are entering a time of ongoing turbulence.

Take a look at the whole chapter and the rest of the great writings in "How Business Gets Done, Words of Wisdom by Central Iowa Entrepreneurs." The book is available in paperback and on kindle.