September 14 , 2009

Learning 4 Performance:
Thought Leadership in T&D

We're In "Recovery": Are You Ready?

(Approximate Reading Time: 1 minute. Value if you think about and act upon this information: Priceless.)

Although the jury is still officially out, there seems to be a growing consensus that the economy has "bottomed out" and that business will be getting better from here forward. Various media outlets (e.g., the Wall Street Journal) point to larger purchasing levels and other indicators; we are seeing customers who put projects "on hold" in the spring and summer beginning to re-engage.

While no one accurately predicted the recession prior to it hitting them in the face, and while there is still some concern that the economy may experience a few more shocks, or that the rebound will be slower because few companies will be rehiring soon, we believe that NOW is the time to revisit certain fundamentals. Doing so now will position you to meet customer requirements, capture new business, and advance your brand. We suggest that you ask the following questions:

  • Many organizations have had to downsize over the last 6-12 months. You have a window in which there are many superbly qualified applicants for your key positions. Have you developed a systematic succession planning process which identifies the roles you will need to fill? What steps are you taking now so that you are at capacity within the next 3-6 months?
  • In today's post-recession, leaner organizations, many of those who are left - your best people - are now running 90 miles an hour with their hair on fire. Your ability to retain these top performers and keep them engaged is a key competitive variable. What systems are in place to support and develop these people? What systems should be in place? How does your performance system compare with those of your competitors?
  • Current customers will soon have the capacity to purchase more. What innovations are you driving? What new forms of product or service are you preparing now to accelerate the demand?
  • The most reliable and cheapest source for new customers are "raving fans" - current customers who are so impressed by your value that they readily recommend you. The surest route to "raving fans" are your very own employees, provided that they are fully engaged and providing superior service. The level of service that your outside customers receive never, over the long-haul, exceeds the lowest level of service provided to internal customers. What systems do you have in place to ensure that everyone in your organization provides world-class service to everyone else?

While there may be a few more bumps in the road, now is the time to begin to look ahead and to make strategic investments in your people and the sytems that support them. We are pleased to assist you in this endeavor, as you have the need. Begin with the questions outlined above, and be ready for the next cycle of growth. It's coming!

To Greater Success,

First Steps' CEO and Syndicated Talk Show Host Rob Benson

Rob Benson

P.S. We haven't forgotten about the second installment in the Performance FeedBack series, which we began with last month's issue. We are nearly finished with our thoughts for that newsletter and will have it to you next month.

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