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Predicting the Future?

"The best way to predict the future is to create it!" wrote Peter Drucker.

That's a bold statement in the current economy, but never more true. Profits are made in good times, but fortunes can be made in the midst of chaos. How? By holding your vision instead of "watching the signs". The vision that inspired the company you have today can be just as alive as ever. It's an internal flame fired by your passion and fanned by your commitment. It transcends markets, external conditions and the prevailing negativity.

When you're focused on your vision, you can take steps each day to make that dream come true. You're not deterred by the doubts of others and you don't engage in the "gee, ain't it awful" conversations. If you start to get off track, the surest way back on the road to your prosperity is to pay attention to where you are ultimately heading.

That vision must also be shared by your management team, your employees, your customers and your vendors. I know it takes real courage to lead right down the center of the path when there seem to be so many hurdles and obstructions. It's even tempting some days to hide behind a boulder on the side of the road! And you may have had to take a couple of steps backward, needing to layoff staff or experiencing a slump in sales.

What's going on "between your ears" at this moment? Are you operating from fear or faith? Are you being guided by an inner knowing that things are always for the best or gauging by the news reports?

Now, more than ever, it's crucial to return to the purpose behind your organization, to offer value and quality, show concern for your customers and be honest and authentic with your leadership team. Keep asking yourself:

I have a motto framed on my office wall that reads: "I kept waiting for somebody to do something....then I realized I was somebody!"

What have you done to set your true priorities and remember what is most important? Have you been creative in your marketing, clever in your spending and wise in your employee development? What's your new game plan? What approach haven't you tried? What old assumptions about who will buy or what will sell haven't you tested, questioned and maybe overcome? When is there a better time to expand your marketing than when your competitors are hiding and waiting?

Have you expressed gratitude to the customers who have remained loyal? The employees who have come back each day with ideas, hope and a positive outlook? What about the vendors who have extended credit?

Action items:

1. Hold a staff meeting to realign behind the vision and purpose. Ask the tough questions I posed above.

2. Schedule a focus group of good customers and ask them what you can do to serve them better in these tough times.

3. Stay rested and balanced so you can be there for those you lead.

As Einstein once said, "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."


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