"Get busy living, or get busy dying." -- Andy Dufresne, Shawshank Redemption
2009 is here and it's time to make good on all of the resolutions we usually make. For most of us, the shock and awe of the downturn in 2008 is now squarely in the rear view mirror. Hopefully, you've been largely unaffected. For those who've experienced the downturn first hand, you've no doubt dealt with the reality of the situation and charted a new course for survival in 2009. From the companies we've talked to, it's clear that most of the core realignment has taken place. The question now is, how should we best approach the coming year?
Never before have we entered a year with so much built-in uncertainty. The typical yearly planning process has always tried to define the most likely scenarios in which we can control the outcomes to ensure victory. In tough years, we add a hunker down mentality to make sure that the plans we're attempting to execute are things that we've done well in the past. Some leading analysts are suggesting that in this market we should go a step further and resort to a trench warfare mentality to win new business. All of these perspectives have value but the Tuned In Leader will take a simpler approach:
Focus each day on the things that matter most!
As you settle back in to your routine for the new year, its time to take hold of the old axiom to 'make each day count'. That means spending your valuable time and your organizations resources on the things that add sustainable value to your business and align it better to today's realities. Tuned In Leaders are constantly listening, learning, understanding, aligning and acting on information they gather in the marketplace. In 2009, they're focusing their attention on more controllable outcomes:
- Finding a down economy resonator -- that enables their business to become more relevant in solving the problems their customers have today.
- Embracing the new buying environment-- by understanding the criterion buyers have for purchase and aligning their sales & marketing efforts accordingly.
- Making their company easier to do business with -- through increased service levels and experiences that add meaningful value.
- Developing a strong, passionate community -- of stakeholder advocates through their employees, partners, customers, influencers and investors.
Tuned In Leaders aren't focused on the scoreboard, they're aligning to the activities that will have meaningful impact on the ultimate measurement of their business. The benefit of this approach is a simple one ... all of them will force you to remain focused on 'outside-in' objectives vs. 'inside-out' ones that tend to dominate in tough times.
By upgrading both the delivery vehicles of what you provide and the way you do business, you'll naturally align to the realities of today's marketplace. Don't move forward blindly with the status quo. The products you bring into the new year might be the wrong horses tor ride. Upgrade them. The customers you have and seek to acquire have different expectations this year than last. Adapt to them. The alignment you had with thought leaders might be the wrong mouth pieces for your business (after all, most of them were wrong). Find the new ones that your buyers will trust today and align to them.
Staying tuned in was never an event, it was always a process. The companies that mastered it became leaders and are well aligned to sustain their success in 2009. Their cultures and teams are always the same ... cautiously optimistic ... because they are always focused on the basics. Establish your outlook for 2009 with this grounded perspective. You and your business will be the better for it.