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Today’s Economy - Lemons versus Lemonade

Today I want to take just a minute to address the current problems in our economy. While this is outside the normal scope of this Blog, I feel that there is much to be considered and discussed.

In the real world where the 99.999% of us who are not politicians live, it doesn’t really matter what party or group you belong to, what matters is who you are and what you do.

Imagine you are in a small boat in the middle of a big ocean, in this boat is one person from every country in the world, for arguments sake let’s say there are 195 of us and let’s also assume that there are nearly equal numbers of men and women.

Now let’s say that we are in the middle of a storm, not just any storm, but a once in a lifetime or a “Hundred Years” storm. Our boat that before the storm was comfortable and appeared to be safe is now damaged and leaking from every seam with more water is coming in over the gunnels. To make matters worse, our resident meteorologists say that this storm may last weeks, months, or maybe even years.

We have 195 opinions on what to do, some want to just wait for someone else to rescue them (note: not necessarily everyone, just them), others want to use this as an opportunity to take control of the boat and everyone in it, some want to do nothing, arguing that since we were stupid enough to get in this position, we are not worth saving and should just sink and drown.

However a few just quietly start bailing, they work night and day, sleeping little and working as hard as they can. Eventually when the boat stops sinking it is these same people who start fixing the leaks, taking care of the supplies, making sure that everyone gets their fair share. Some in the boat disparage these efforts; some even try to make things more difficult.

As time goes on some slip over the side and drift away, some refusing to help with business of living migrate to one section in the boat, where they grumble among themselves.

However most people begin to realize that by working together, they can make their own if not everyone’s life a little easier.

Over time the leaks get fixed, so we don’t have to spend all of our time bailing. We begin to pull things drifting by out of the ocean and make them into useful things. The boat is eventually repaired, improved, and even enlarged. People realize that in spite of differences, working together in a common cause allows us to see other points of view and even to reach accommodations and compromises.

There are still a few in the “I disagree with everything” section, but the group seems to get smaller and smaller as time goes by.

As time goes on, the disaster fades into memory and life actually becomes better than it was before the storm.

Right now, individuals have little control over how big the storm gets or how long it will last. Individuals can however bail, they can help their friends and neighbors, they can band together to fix leaks, but more importantly, they can work together with like-minded people to find solutions and implement them to address the bigger problems.

Recessions can last a few months, a few years, or they can spiral downwards into depression. A ship’s captain (President) can head the ship into the wind and try to prevent the boat from being swamped, he can direct the crew to batten down the hatches, and start the pumps, but he (or she) is but one person and in the end the efforts and determination of the crew and passengers will decide how the voyage will end.

In today’s real world economy, things are pretty scary, with even well run businesses are in trouble. So what does a good manager do to protect and grow his company’s business?

Well, in the midst of all these lemons, let’s try making some lemonade. There are more highly talented and highly motivated people available than ever before (remember a year ago everyone was panicking over a lack of qualified job seekers), there are more opportunities than ever before (think in terms of all the businesses cutting back or closing, where will their customers go?), there are more possibilities for consolidation and growth (again things that were considered unnecessary or even unthinkable when things were booming, suddenly make a lot of sense) and there are many more examples to be considered.

With careful thought and planning you can make your business grow and become even more profitable even in the toughest of times.

Consider that many of the strongest companies in the world today are ones that survived or grew out of the depression.

We will get through this difficult time, some will merely survive, some will grow stronger and prosper, which group will you be in?

Post your comments, thoughts, ideas, and suggestions here.

Diesel Doctor

Copyright 2009© - William Richards


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Last modified: 04/06/09
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