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26 FEBRUARY 2009
Remaining focused - Can you see the horizon?

by Paul Bridle: Leadership Methodologist, International Researcher, Author, Inspirational Professional Speaker, Consultant and Facilitator.

Christopher Columbus set sail heading West to look for new lands. It was a daring move at a time of growing national imperialism and economic competition between states. It was risky and many thought that he would disappear of the edge of the world.

But Columbus remained focused even though he did not know exactly what he would find. In fact, he totally underestimated the circumference of the world and when he landed in the Bahamas he thought he had landed on the east Asian mainland.

As with all these voyages in history, Columbus prepared as best he could for the months ahead. In part he was preparing for the unknown, but there was a lot he knew he could plan for and he recognised that his team would need to be able to adapt and change as challenges arose.

The situation is similar today in the current climate. Nobody knows what will happen over the next eighteen months as the financial crisis takes us into unchartered territory. Many businesses will suffer because they are not prepared or equipped to deal with the storms or the sudden change in plans. Already many have collapsed. Most of these were businesses that had lost their way already and so the first storm knocked them over.

What do you need to be focused on right now?
I suggest that you need to know what are the important indicators that will enable your business not only to survive but also to be prepared when the upturn begins. There is no point in surviving the storm to sink when the recession ends because your competitors have already got new offerings.

I suggest that you need to consider what I call the three fundamental indicators of business ability to come out of a recession and be capable to capitalise on the opportunities that follow:

  1. Have you got an outstanding product or service?
  2. Have you got an outstanding delivery mechanism?
  3. Have you got the necessary cash flow?

Notice the use of the word “outstanding”. By that I mean something that differentiates you from the competition. Something that is fresh, dynamic or simply sets you apart.

My concern is that companies are battening down the hatches to weather the storm and are simply not thinking about what the world will look like in the future. Just because there is a recession does not mean that people aren’t looking for good service and perceived added value.

I phoned a company yesterday to enquire about a price for a piece of equipment. I was told I would be put through to Lee who could help me. Then the same person came back and said Lee was on the phone. I asked, “Is there nobody that can simply give me a price? I have the exact details of the model I want, surely all that is needed is to type the number into the computer and tell me what the price is?”.

The reply!!!!! “If you give me your phone number and email address I can look that up for you”.

Can you imagine that? This company is focused on building their database and not serving the customer.

What is your businesses focus at the moment? Walk the floor and listen to people talking. How do they talk? That will tell you what they are focused on.

My questions to you are:

  • What are you focused on?
  • What is your business focused on?
  • What is important to you and your people at the moment?

Are you sufficiently focused on what you need to be able to survive the end of the recession, when it comes? Will you be in the right gear to accelerate out of the recession? What you are planning on and focusing on today will decide how good you will be then.


Bridle Research and Development Limited
Paul Bridle is an Information Contextualizer and Leadership Methodologist. For over two decades he has researched effective organisations and the people that lead them. Visit our InfoCentre or website.

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