The Art of Surviving. Most businesses start to panic when the economy dips and recession fears settle in. The global financial crises of 2008-09 still hampers economic development today and businesses need to be aware of how to overcome these challenges through proper goal setting procedures. The act of surviving a global economic decline has provided great insights from businesses that not only survived but increased their revenues during such a difficult time.
The recession term often comes with the negativity associated with communism, yet is relevant to business. Many businesses during these challenging periods reinvent themselves through a process of re-educating themselves in order to advance beyond the competition in the realm of knowledge. One of the most powerful business tools available to owners, managers and employees is having the right information at the right time. Any time your company is in threat of decline, setting learning goals instead of performance goals is often the right choice. Knowledge is power and can often extend itself to a competitive advantage through understanding the market better, making better informed decisions, or through innovation that spurs increased revenue earning potential. Setting learning goals for all employees that will encourage them to learn a new skill associated with your industry and specifically within your corporate goals, can provide new opportunities for growth.
Too often during slow economic times business leaders ratchet up the rhetoric on increasing sales volumes and applying goals that are unrealistic to the current economic situation. Expecting employees and salespeople to increase sales by 20% in a 10% down market will create a stretch goal that almost no employee will be motivated to meet in and of itself. By studying goal setting criteria during these times will instead provide input by employees to establish goals that they will be more motivated to achieve rather than unrealistic sales targets. By involving staff in the criteria development for goals during challenging economic times, realistic frameworks can be developed that provide the most important ingredient for performance – emotional connection. Employees need to understand and buy into the goals of the organisation from a place of heartfelt emotional connection and not just out of fear of the possibility of losing their jobs. So develop goal criteria during tough economic times in direct response to employees’ input.
One of the cornerstones of any great business is the ability to effectively communicate corporate goals and visions both in the short and long terms. Too often the act of communication breaks down during difficult times as owners and business leaders fail to communicate. This communication breakdown arises because of the fear that it will de-motivate employees and cause a general panic. Yet the act of being non-communicative is often more telling, creating the same sense of foreboding and depressed morale originally intended to avoid. Instead, one goal set by the company leadership should be to establish regular communication with employees about “the state of the company”. This communication does not have to be completely revealing but should be meaningful in the establishment of the challenges to be faced and positive reinforcement that the challenges can be overcome.
The art of surviving in a difficult economy includes a meaningful re-evaluation of the goal setting framework and its intended results for every department and employee within the company including its leadership. The future vision of the company should always be kept in focus with a meaningful way to progress towards it in difficult times. Honest and open communication will provide the motivation for employees to buy into their renewed goals.