15
Dec
08

Recession throws open the window for change

In recent months I’ve been referring to the recession as a new and more complicated jigsaw puzzle that leaders need to figure out – and just to keep it interesting, the puzzle is picture-side down. I’ve also been encouraging leaders to get clarity on what they want their company to look like on the other side of this recession. The message is simple: change, adapt and fix what isn’t working. Everything is on the table and subject to the “if it’s not creating lift, it’s creating drag” acid test. No-compromise leaders are ridding their companies of drag and they’re doing it quickly.
The only upside to the recession is that it has everyone’s attention. People understand the uncertainty of these times. They get it that tough decisions – unpopular decisions – must be made for the companies they work for to make it safely and strong to the other side of the recession. A little sacrifice today to ensure a secure tomorrow is the rule of the day.
I received an e-mail from a coaching client last week who was agonizing over her employees’ expectation for their annual Christmas bonus. It was a challenging year and deep down, this leader knew she had to make a no-compromise decision. Here’s what she wrote:
“There was a buzz going around for the last couple weeks if I would distribute the annual cash bonuses at the holiday party. Rather than waiting until the party for them to find out, I brought a TYD summary of last year’s numbers and this year’s to our Friday morning huddle. There were 25 employees at this huddle. I knew that those who were not working on that day would find out within minutes.
I asked them if they thought it would be a good business decision to hand out cash when we need it right now to get our business healthy again. I asked them if they wanted me to jeopardize losing their health care benefits and vacation pay by not running a lean ship right now. I told them that our ‘bonus’ this year is that we all still have jobs, myself included. Not a word was spoken – no questions asked. Staff came up to me following the huddle and thanked me.”
“Bravo,” I said. “This is a perfect example of the open, accountable and respectful strength of a no-compromise leader who is doing what needs to be done.”
The recession has certainly thrown open the window for positive change. More importantly, to fix all of those problems, issues, behaviors, practices and “entitlements” that have been waiting to be fixed. For many, it’s time to confront the elephant in the living room because you won’t make it through this recession dragging that elephant along.
I end this Wake-Up with a Neilism that is so right for these times: “No compromise has only one setting – whatever it takes.”
Pass this email on to your business colleagues, managers and friends.
Neil Ducoff, Strategies founder & CEO

window-of-opportunity1In recent months I’ve been referring to the recession as a new and more complicated jigsaw puzzle that leaders need to figure out – and just to keep it interesting, the puzzle is picture-side down. I’ve also been encouraging leaders to get clarity on what they want their company to look like on the other side of this recession. The message is simple: change, adapt and fix what isn’t working. Everything is on the table and subject to the “if it’s not creating lift, it’s creating drag” acid test. No-compromise leaders are ridding their companies of drag and they’re doing it quickly.

The only upside to the recession is that it has everyone’s attention. People understand the uncertainty of these times. They get it that tough decisions – unpopular decisions – must be made for the companies they work for to make it safely and strong to the other side of the recession. A little sacrifice today to ensure a secure tomorrow is the rule of the day.

I received an e-mail from a coaching client last week who was agonizing over her employees’ expectation for their annual Christmas bonus. It was a challenging year and deep down, this leader knew she had to make a no-compromise decision. Here’s what she wrote:

“There was a buzz going around for the last couple weeks if I would distribute the annual cash bonuses at the holiday party. Rather than waiting until the party for them to find out, I brought a TYD summary of last year’s numbers and this year’s to our Friday morning huddle. There were 25 employees at this huddle. I knew that those who were not working on that day would find out within minutes.

I asked them if they thought it would be a good business decision to hand out cash when we need it right now to get our business healthy again. I asked them if they wanted me to jeopardize losing their health care benefits and vacation pay by not running a lean ship right now. I told them that our ‘bonus’ this year is that we all still have jobs, myself included. Not a word was spoken – no questions asked. Staff came up to me following the huddle and thanked me.”

“Bravo,” I said. “This is a perfect example of the open, accountable and respectful strength of a no-compromise leader who is doing what needs to be done.”

The recession has certainly thrown open the window for positive change. More importantly, to fix all of those problems, issues, behaviors, practices and “entitlements” that have been waiting to be fixed. For many, it’s time to confront the elephant in the living room because you won’t make it through this recession dragging that elephant along.

I end this Wake-Up with a Neilism that is so right for these times: “No compromise has only one setting – whatever it takes.”

Pass this email on to your business colleagues, managers and friends.

Neil Ducoff, Strategies founder & CEO and author of No-Compromise Leadership

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