Let’s face it, it’s particularly difficult to run a business right now, and if you’re under 35, this might be your first encounter with the other side of a market cycle. The truth is what makes you successful in a “boom” market could completely undermine your success in the “bust” market. Making matters worse, very few leaders are adaptable and skilled enough to lead in both market types, which is a big contributing factor to the number of businesses that struggle and eventually fail in recessions.
Here are my top 4 attributes of a successful boom market leader that undermine and potentially kill your company in a bust market and action you can take now to help.
#4: Optimism. “Everything is an opportunity” thinking can kill your business in a bust market. It leads to overextending increasingly precious resources and distracts your team.
Action: If you’re not naturally skeptical, get someone on your team close to you who is, and listen to him/her much more than you’d like to. They might just be keeping the company alive.
#3: Planning. Spending a lot of time thinking about and planning for 5 years from now is mostly a waste of time in a bust market. The goal is to survive, and by doing that, you thrive. You don’t have the luxury of much 5-year planning. Too much is changing too fast. Don’t waste your time.
Action: Move to weekly or daily huddles with your team around near-term goals. Focus on winning the moment. If you do that, the future will take care of itself.
#2: Patience. New team members need time to get up to speed and perform, right? Wrong. Well, partially wrong. In a booming market, the market gives you time to experiment with new people. In a bust, you don’t have that luxury. You have 2-3 weeks to get it.
Action: Shorten your probationary period for new team members by at least half. If not more.
#1: Balance. The last two years have seen a big movement to rebalance people’s lives and priorities as they relate to work, driven in part by the huge influx of capital by the federal government and the economic freedom that capital created for a lot of people. Unfortunately for many, this has created a false sense of economic security, and the next couple of years will be more difficult. In a bust market, those who win will be willing to be much more out of balance in their lives.
Action: Get real with your finances now and adjust quickly to the reality you’re in, not that you were in, or wish you were in.
Now for the good news… The next 18-24 month reset will be filled with incredible innovation, and new companies and new leaders will emerge and inspire us for many years to come. Will you be one of them?