Accelerating Out of the Downturn

Accelerating Out of the Downturn

          
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Accelerating Out of the Downturn

Management in a Two-Speed Economy, Strategy
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    The big news is that the recession appears to be ending. The U.S. economy grew 5.8 percent in the first quarter—faster than at any time in the past two years—and renewed growth is anticipated in both Eastern and Western Europe. Of course, many CEOs and senior managers aren’t saluting the end just yet. Rather, they’re still dealing with the aftershocks of terrorism and with the malaise created by layoffs, reduced sales, and sluggish forecasts. But it is time to be looking ahead. The question is, Is your company ready to take advantage of the recovery?

    To identify and seize opportunities before your competitors, you will need a work force that is ready, willing, and able to take on the challenge of accelerating out of the downturn. This is easier said than done. Companies that have been doing a heroic job of soldiering through plummeting sales and painful layoffs often find it hard to switch gears and prepare for prosperity. Your best people may be downhearted, disaffected, or, worse, poised for flight. This is precisely when discouragement often leads to defection.

    Three things you should do now to prepare your company for the recovery are:

    1. Create a genuinely compelling vision

    2. Communicate continuously

    3. Pay attention to your best performers

    These actions are, of course, basic tenets of good management. But they are particularly important at this economic turning point, when demoralization must be quickly converted to confidence.

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