“I refuse to participate in a recession” is the slogan on the badges worn by BNI* members around the country. Are they living a fantasy and burying their heads in the sand? I do not think so; they are looking at the sunrise instead of the sunset. I also refuse to participate in a recession because I believe in my goals, in my clients, and, most importantly for me, I believe in God.

Is a recession negative economic growth, or is it the accrual of people’s negative thoughts? Everyday I see people talking about how bad the economy is, how home values keep falling, how so many jobs are getting cut, etc., credit crunch, food costs rising, fuel price increasing, and on and on and on it goes. On the other hand, I know a few people who continuously talk about the sunrise, the light at the end of the tunnel, and how good business is, considering the economy. These are the ones I am listening to.

Every morning when I read the newspaper or watch the headline news, I focus my attention only on the information I think could have an immediate effect in my clients, my family, or my friends. I am very conscious that I can not change or control the economy, but I can have total control on my reactions and responses to the economy and take daily actions accordingly.

We cannot deny what is going on, and probably while you are reading this article you or your business are facing significant changes due to the events called “recession,” but I think about how many businesses are still hiring people and having a sustainable growth, perhaps a bit less than normal, but sustainable nonetheless. Think about all the opportunities that this “new” market is creating, rather than focusing and worrying about how badly things are going.

While a recession is a macro economic event, you can be in control of the micro effects if you start asking the right questions. What are those questions? Let’s list some:

Who pays my bills? If the answer is “my customers,” I encourage you to evaluate what you will do for them tomorrow that is different from what you are doing for them today. Your customers have needs, and they are also living the effects of the economic downturn. Create empathy with your customer — make them feel you care. Stay in touch, call them, and provide value with ideas.

If you are an employee you should be thinking: Pablo, what about me? I do not have paying customers. Yes, you have. You have internal customers to satisfy, those people whose successes depend on your ability to deliver a great job.

What is my competition doing? It is now more important than ever to know your competition and its strategies. For a start, much of your competition is going to become invisible. This is because one of the first things companies cut when times are hard is the marketing budget. It’s great news for you because it gets rid of a whole load of your competitors and gives you a superb opportunity to get in front of a large number of potential clients. And you don’t have to do anything differently! Just don’t have a knee-jerk reaction and start dropping marketing activities that have been effective in the past.

Who are my key people? If ever there was a time for organizations to secure their top talent, it is now. In fact according to KPMG’s recent poll of nearly 200 senior executives of UK firms, 83% of respondents said human capital was the key to maintaining an edge over competitors. And under the current economic conditions, having the edge is one way of keeping your head above water.

Having a clear understanding of who are your top performers in management and sales is not a “nice-to-have” thing; it is a “live or die” decision. It is time to hold on to your aces, keep the best you’ve got, let the underperformers go, but be careful not to create panic among the rest of the team. Avoid the “Survivor Syndrome.”

In my recent article “Make 2009 a Year of Possibilities,” I highlight how important is to open your mind to possibilities, looking for the doors that are waiting to be opened. I list 7 proactive suggestions on how to create your own possibilities:

  • Start with optimism
  • Talk about obsession, not recession
  • Change your perspective
  • Create goals
  • Write down your accomplishments
  • Speak possibilities
  • Build on your success

Sunrise or Sunset…it’s your choice…it depends on YOU!

As an Executive and Business Coach, I help people use their resources and skills to do a better job, watching the picture from a different perspective. For more information, please call Pablo J. Perez at (305) 722-7215, or send an e-mail to [email protected].

* BNI (Business Network International) is the largest business networking organization in the world.

Executive Coaching, Motivation

About Pablo J. Perez