The Chemistry of Strategy tm Newsletter November 16, 2009

Light at the end of the tunnel?

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The current issue of Business Week, dated November 23, 2009, quotes Byron Wien, investment strategist at Blackstone and a well-known "seer:"

"As far as the economy is concerned, I think businesses fired too many people, cut inventory back too far, and stopped capital spending. Now business is returning to normal on all three of those points. I think unemployment will peak in the first quarter of next year, more money will be spent on capital equipment, and inventories will be rebuilt. I also think housing has bottomed, and that's going to be a favorable thrust for the economy. As far as the market is concerned, people have been skeptical that it's been going up for the right reasons. Now they're finally giving up and saying they have to get on board."

He’s right. During the past 12 months most organizations have been largely focused on surviving their drop in revenue equaling as much as a 40%. (Even the IRS experienced similar shortfalls; tax revenues are down 44% from a year ago!) These are staggering percentage changes.

If you consider these drastic hits to revenue as a kind of tsunami, then it’s no surprise that many companies had no choice but to cut back and retrench in order to survive. The result? Much of their organizational strengths were "washed away" and they have been left with weakened infrastructure, decreased staff, depleted competence, and the loss of passion.

But, as Wien points out, the treacherous waters have begun to recede and companies are shifting gears to take advantage of the change.

The hard work of rebuilding lies ahead. In this aftermath of the tsunami, companies must rebuild their vision, mission, and strategy - and they need to engage, empower, and ignite their management teams.

Starting in September, many of our clients began doing just this -- focusing new attention on their long-term goals and missions and looking carefully at the responsibilities of senior management to achieve sustainable growth and increased corporate value. Our clients, as well as many other companies, are getting on board and, as Wien points out, "returning to normal."

When thinking about your company’s position in the marketplace and whether you are ready for the recovery, you might want to consider this classic story:

Two CEOs walking through the woods spotted a vicious-looking bear. The first CEO immediately opened his briefcase, pulled out a pair of sneakers and started putting them on. The second CEO looked at him and said, "You're crazy! You'll never be able to outrun that bear!"
"I don't have to," the first CEO replied.
"I only have to outrun you."

Have your competitors started putting on their running shoes? If so, watch out!

If you want to learn more about what actions you can take now to outrun your competition, please call Myrna Associates, 301-680-0035 or 800-207-8192, for a free half-hour consultation.

What's your company's shared Vision for the future?

Does your company have a vision that underpins every strategic decision you make? What is your Big Hairy Audacious Goal that drives every decision? Is your staff able to articulate your company’s BHAG? Are you effectively translating that vision into a mission, strategy, and executable strategic goals?

Is your Executive Team part of the solution or part of the problem? Are they focused on building value and winning?

As documented in the business classic "Built to Last", great success comes when you and your key Executives are able to establish and communicate a vision throughout your organization and everyone understands it and is personally acting on it.

John W. Myrna

is co-founder of
Myrna Associates Inc

My next Webinars
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Dec 3, 1:00PM ET

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