Today, as markets are on the rise, the outlook for employment is looking up, and the grim economic news of recent years is beginning to be replaced by more positive reports. If you are not already prepared for the upturn, now is the time to get prepared.
As the leader of your company or team, following are seven actions you can take now to prepare for the upturn. In fact, these actions apply in upturns and downturns as well.
Innovation is one of two things that make money for companies. Spend time brainstorming with your peers, employees, friends, coaches, and others. Get everyone’s juices stirring around products, services, and processes.
Get your operations house in order.
Spend time with your customers, including those who are not currently buying from you. Let them know you value their businesses as well as their business. Then ask them how you can improve. Find out your strengths and weaknesses as an organization. Build on your organizational strengths, and work on your organizational weaknesses.
Get your financial house in order.
You must create a firm foundation for growth if you want to participate in the upturn. Have all the necessary documentation ready for the bank in case you need to borrow at the onset. There could be a race for the funds, and you will want to win that race!
Have a strategic plan.
Make sure you have a game plan for game day. A true strategic plan is all about tactics, techniques, and implementation. If you are going to beat the competition out of the gate and down the stretch, you need a strong strategy.
Get the right people on your team.
Evaluate your team, and if you have doubts about anyone, consider replacing them. There are many free agents on the market, and you can use this time and their talent to upgrade your team. It is wise to bring in an objective third party to help with this process, especially around interviewing and selection.
Invest in your people.
As the upturn takes hold, so will the war for talent. If you have good talent and want to keep them, invest in them now. Help them prepare themselves to be the best they can be. Provide them with more training, as well as developmental opportunities. Investing in your people now will demonstrate a commitment from you that will factor big time if and when the competition attempts to steal them away.
Carry the torch of hope.
Whether in upturns, downturns, or transitions between the two, a leader must spread hope throughout the organization. These times may be tough, but that doesn’t mean the talk has to be. Don’t let your employees dwell on the negative; rather, help them see the positive. Find ways to energize and lift them. Consider bringing in an inspirational speaker. And, always, keep the lines of communication, vision, and goal-sharing open.
Truly effective leaders don’t just strike while the iron is hot. They strike well before the furnace is lit. They see the vision and create the solution long before it is needed. If you are working your company goals and objectives, as well as planning for the good times ahead, you will not only have a better chance at surviving the downturns, you will be ready to ride the next wave.
Dave Ferguson is “The Leaders’ Coach”, an internationally recognized executive leadership coach, speaker, facilitator, and author. For help in getting your organization ready for the upturn, “ASK COACH DAVE” at 704-907-0171 or at Dave@AskCoachDave.com.