In my previous post, I drew parallels between weather forecasts and economic forecasts, and discussed my views on preparing for both types of storms. As it turned out, the predicted storm arrived right on target. In fact, when all was said done, the total snow accumulation was 2-3 more inches than predicted, for a total of 9 or 10 inches coated by a glaze of freezing rain for good measure.
So what happens when the storm hits? In the case of the weather, there was a televised emergency briefing by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. However his points could also parallel what we can do in the midst of economic storms:
- Get your priorities straight: Bloomberg asked for our cooperation in helping the City address priorities. He told us that the first priority is safety during the storm. Snow would be removed from the main roadways so we could safely get where we need to go. Secondarily, he spoke about plans to minimize flooding from piled up snow as it melts. The parallel in business is to make sure that your company’s key objectives are prioritized and clearly communicated to maximize teamwork and productivity.
- Find alternate ways to get where you need to go: If your usual route is blocked with snow and mass transit is running on time, take mass transit. Likewise in business, if your customers significantly cut back on new purchases because of the stormy economy, find alternative ways to provide value to them. You may even discover new markets for your products and services.
- Expect delays: Bloomberg reminded us that no matter how much snow the road crews clear away, we should expect delays due to fender benders. He suggested getting an early start if we have to go out and adopting a philosophical attitude about delays. In business, the parallel attitude is to be prepared for the ups and downs of the economy, and to develop checkpoints and contingency plans to apply as necessary.
- Find ways to enjoy life despite the problems: The Mayor reminded us all that snow happens in New York City in the winter, and the parks would be open for recreation. The parallel in business: even when hard times happen, there are still good things in life to appreciate. Be grateful for what you do have, and the hard times will be easier to take.
Going through the storms, although difficult, doesn’t have to mean doom and gloom. It can also provide us with opportunities to reevaluate what we’re doing, and perhaps even find something better.