At its core, the business of business is simple. The tougher it gets to be in business, the simpler it should be to be in business.
No question, it is a complicated, bewildering and challenging business environment we find ourselves in today. This goes for both those attempting to build a business and those seeking to build a rewarding career (or even just finding and keeping a job). However, my contention is that the single biggest inhibitor to surviving and recovering from the current recession is not the economic downturn itself, but weak and bureaucratic management that has built complicated systems, control points, conflicting strategies and knee-jerk actions which only serve to prolong and deepen the impact of the environment, while suppressing the flow of fresh ideas that will turn problems into opportunity.
It seems that when weak and bureaucratic managers face a complicated, bewildering and challenging environment (which they want you to believe is all the time) their natural inclination is to take simple things and make them complicated. You might be able to get by with this approach when times are good, but in a difficult environment this approach simply makes things worse.
So what do we do about it?
The first thing is to guard against thinking that business is complicated, because that will push us to seek complicated answers for “complicated” problems. And all that will do is complicate the problem.
My belief is that the way to deal successfully with complicated problems is to avoid being sucked into thinking we are dealing with complicated issues and problems. Instead, when times are tough, it is critical to focus on doing simple things to be done and simply . . . doing them. You will be surprised how quickly solutions to complicated problems will appear when we encourage ourselves and others to think small and simple, rather than big and complicated. This is not so easy to do because just about everyone we deal with is going to try to convince us just how complicated and difficult the issues are to resolve.
To my way of thinking, the only way to survive and emerge from this current business environment is to focus on those simple things we can control that, in the long run, will prove to be the best way in any environment. That does not mean that implementing such a philosophy is easy – it isn’t, but it is simple.
Golden Oldie Simple Solutions to Complicated Challenges
Here are a few simple things we should remember to do and do more of when times are hard. If we break any problem or opportunity down to simple steps and simply take them, big things will get done.
- • Reminisce about the future.
• Understand the future will belong to those who get there first.
• Don’t forget what it is you want to be and do and why.
• Set and maintain high ethical standards – for yourself and others.
• Build parallel interests with all parties.
• Exhibit core beliefs that are not compromised, qualified or abandoned – even in difficult times.
• Never be afraid to do the right thing.
• Have the strength to be consistent – even when all about you are not.
• View all change as an opportunity not a threat.
• Always make bunk of bureaucracy.
• Be creative. Differentiate, don’t copy.
• Never be too intimidated to intimidate the intimidator – especially if it is fear of failure in difficult times.
• Do what others won’t or can’t do to make things better.
• Set peer group standards, don’t follow them.
• Avoid gambles, manage risk, and learn from failure and share success with those who make it possible.
And the Moral of the Story is . . .
When times are difficult the weak bureaucratic manger – who do not have a solid philosophy to fall back on – make things more complicated by seeking to change how things are done. The entrepreneurial manager may recognize that what is done may change, but how things are done does not change.
The entrepreneurial manager has an ingrained philosophy of doing business that is adhered in good times and bad. The entrepreneurial manager knows there will always be good and bad times, and only by being loyal to a consistent, simple philosophy of how to do business will success be achieved when times are hard.