Managing during the recession

A Forbes reporter called me, having found an article I wrote online about managing in a recession.  If there’s one thing we know for sure about humans and change, they resist change that they do not control.  Plus it adds to anxiety and stress levels.  A downturn in the economy, especially one like we’re seeing now, will elevate stress levels everywhere – not just in those being laid off.  So, what does that mean for management?  Plenty.  It’s important to communicate, and to show leadership.  Leaders don’t hide in crisis – that only increases anxiety.  Instead, leaders talk about the situation and focus on what IS in their control.  Keep people focused on what’s important – priority setting is even more important now.  The article that caught the Forbes reporter’s attention is here: 

And here’s the piece:

Return on People

The theme of this new blog is “return on people”.  Every management needs to increase the value of people faster than the rising costs of employment.  People today drive nearly all the value in organizations.  Whether it’s customer service, product development, patents, trademarks, or just plain executing a solid business plan.  Getting the most out of your organization, your people and yourself is key to success in today’s competitive environment.  And those companies who do it well perform far better than others in their industry (more about this as we go along.)

Return on people entails a challenge and an opportunity.  The challenge is to overcome the many ways organizations get in the way of energetic, knowledgeable people who want to be productive, but have a continual barrage of unnecessary complexity preventing them from being at their best.  Examples are:

  • Unclear corporate strategies (What are we trying to accomplish?  Where are we headed?)
  • Confusing organizational structures and reporting relationships (Who’s calling the shots on this?)
  • Barriers to speed from layers of approval, endless deliberations, chain-of-command inanity, mind-bending rules and processes, etc.
  • Managers who are insecure, egotistical, close-minded and/or control-oriented
  • Pay systems that reward individuals when team effort is required
  • Barriers to collaboration, cooperation, and information flows
  • And lots, lots more

There are a lot of great companies out there, and they come in all sizes.  Most companies do very well, but they all have their own ideosyncratic ways of turning off bright people.

This blog will address thoughts and examples of how to improve the work environment.  The business outcomes are significant and include:

  • Greater profits per employee
  • Faster strategy implementation
  • A much more attractive environment to attract and retain exactly the right kinds of people
  • A work place that is stimulating, challenging, and rewarding

I welcome your comments and your examples, both good and bad.  They are all instructive.

For more information about me and my company, see