Don’t Fret the Recession, Embrace It!
Now is the time. Let me repeat that. Now is the time! Now is the time to capitalize on a career changing moment. This truly is (and has been for months) your window of opportunity. How can I make such a statement in the face of the worst recession since the great depression? It’s difficult times like these that present the best career opportunities. Period. Leaders become leaders in organizations because they develop track records of solving problems. Facing a recession like the one we face today presents the ultimate leadership opportunity. This recession will shape your career. How you respond to this recession will impact your future and the future of your organization. So, is this recession going to make you stronger or weaker? “It’s the economy,” “There is no budget,” “We’re in a wait and see mode,” “Let’s see how the remainder of the year plays out and then reevaluate.” My personal favorite that I hear repeatedly is “We’re going to wait this thing out.” Does any of this sound familiar? What exactly are we waiting for?
This recession is the reality of the environment that we live in. During tough times like these fears and limited beliefs run rampant across all industries and in companies both large and small. Soon enough employees throughout these organization chose to believe this to be true. Soon enough they begin to settle. They settle for mediocre results. They do the bare minimum to get by because they place blame on uncontrollable events. John F. Kennedy once said “Once you say you’re going to settle for second in life, that’s what happens to you in life.” Whether it be in business, sports or any other industry, opportunities that arise out of difficult times represent the most valuable opportunities for personal growth. This is especially true for the learning or aspiring leader. So what can you do to embrace this recession? Below are four actions that you can take today, if you have the courage:
- Understand that people want to be led. People want to know that someone is working on solving the “big issues” to alleviate their own personal fears. In essence, they want to know that someone is looking after their well-being. Make it clear to those who you work with (and/or lead) that you are aware of the critical issues and that you are working to solving them.
- Act Quickly. It’s very rare if ever that business leaders have all of the information they would like to have before making a business decision. The stakes are even higher now which makes us vulnerable to falling into the “paralysis by analysis” trap. Understand the situation and move quickly to make a decision. Stick with your decision and don’t look back.
- Be Confident. Face bad news head-on and address it with your team. Don’t avoid it. Acknowledge the bad news publicly with your team and confidently share with the team the plan to resolve the issues. Don’t try to avoid the issue or be evasive, people will see right through it.
- Get out of your comfort zone. Research has shown that what turns average performers into top performers is their willingness to step outside their comfort zone and be pushed beyond their current abilities in response to overcoming challenges. Constantly attempting to do what you can’t yet quite do is the process of “getting out of the comfort zone.”
As renowned leadership expert and thought leader John Maxwell puts it, “If you’re not learning you’re not growing. And if you’re not growing you’re dying.” After all, an expert is simply someone who has failed every possible way at trying to accomplish a specific task. And accomplished business leaders will tell you that they have learned far more from their failures than their successes. Get out of your comfort zone. Seek input from your peers and teammates and keep pushing for the answers to the challenges you face. I can assure you that in these challenging economic times organizations are looking for employees who can step up and solve problems. Embrace this recession and all of the challenges, adversity and turmoil it has to offer. Do you have the courage to start embracing this recession?