Just exactly when does a situation become desperate? Desperate, to me, is one of those words that seems, well, so desperate. Or as defined in one Wiktionary entry as hopeless. Now, since I’m a glass-half-full kind of guy, I tend to look at what might be a desperate situation as one that is a great challenge. It’s an opportunity to stand up and fight and give it your best shot because that’s what winners do.
Which brings me to the other definitions of desperate found in Wiktionary, 1) reckless abandon in the pursuit of extreme desire, and 2) extremely intense. So what got me started on this rant today? I’m a hockey fan and to me there’s not too many sports that carry the drama of a Stanley Cup playoff series Game 7. The sports writer of the article I read raised the question of who is the more desperate team. He answered his own question with, the team who faced elimination and won. That was the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 6. And the next game deciding which team moved on to the next series, both teams are desperate, but I doubt that either considered it hopeless.
So let’s talk business for a minute. Are we in desperate economic times? If you pay any attention to the media it’s easy to come to the conclusion that the economy is in big trouble. For businesses large and small that are falling or on the brink of failing it could be construed as hopeless. But wait a minute folks, sure business is down, but the real reality is business is now different. The economy is adjusting from the biggest economic boom of all time, and it’s affecting all businesses and yours is no exception.
How are you responding to this new, different economy? My guess is it depends on your level of desperation, or intensity. As a business leader you’re having to make difficult decisions you believe are in the best long-term interest of your business. Cutting expenses and labor is one of those decisions every business leader has had to face, but that can only go so far before it begins to affect the level of service you provide to your customers. And this is no time to be testing your customers’ loyalty with shoddy service.
So have you raised the intensity level with your team yet? They see and hear what’s going in the economy, and if they are to believe the news they may see it as desperate too. Not the message you want your team conveying to your customers.
It’s not business as usual any more, it’s different. You may need to be different, and your business may need to be different. It’s up to you, the business leaders, to raise the bar and bring the team up to the “playoff” intensity. You do that by clearly communicating your expectations, reminding them of the importance of being at the top of their game, and of going the extra mile each and every time.
In these desperate economic times which is it in your business, hopeless or intense? Please leave your comments; I’d like to know.
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