October 21, 2008

Is economic downturn a disguised boon? This is the question I have been asking myself since last few days. Yes, the time is bad and business is suffering. But let's think long term. Let's think of surviving the downturn and arrival of good times after a period. Perhaps, the period of downturn can act as a testing period to assess your organization's strength and give you an idea about the depth of talent and competencies available.

Here are a few reasons why I think economic downturn are a disguised boon:
  1. It forces you to think out-of-the-box to get business, maintain business, retain customers, optimise cost and customer service, and many more demands of the time. So you get an idea about how much creative blood is flowing in your organization.
  2. Economic downturn are always demanding on existing manpower. So almost every employee feels the heat and is expected to deliver more. Here you get to see who are the people who can walk a tight rope and who all are good only in good times. To fight the downturn, your give additional responsibilities to your people and get to see who are the people who have matured to shoulder higher responsibilities. You get an opportunity to pick diamonds!
  3. Since business slows down during downturn, you get an opportunity to strengthen ties with your existing customers. You get to spend more time meeting and listening to your core set of customers. In the process, you nourish the relationship and get invaluable insights.
  4. Since cost control is an unavoidable phenomenon during economic downturns, you get an opportunity to deeply look at all your existing processes and systems. Chances are there that you chance upon a large chunk of garbage which you might have missed noticing during good times. So, bad economic times may act as a time to do some internal cleaning and shredding.
  5. In search of optimization and synergy to derive maximum mileage you tend to collaborate more with your supplier, customers, employees, other stake holders. The exercise generally unlocks a lot of value in the entire value chain.
Isn't it that adversity comes so that you are forced to improve and learn to benefit from it!