I can hear it now, like the kids in the back seat of the car “is the recession over yet?’ No Virginia, it’s not. And in all likelihood, it won’t be for a while.
Why? Because I just don’t see much of a rebound yet. Retailers are expecting a flat Christmas, Alan Greenspan predicts 10% unemployment, and many of my consulting proposals are taking longer than they normally do to close 🙂
So as the recession drones on, we continue to hear about companies whose fortunes are seriously jeopardized “due to the recession.” And we read about companies failing “because of the recession.” Some of us even lose jobs, why?
The recession, stupid!
But is it?
I have this theory. Great companies – and by great I mean those who have a firm mission and purpose, and who are traditionally guided by strong leaders, who show fiscal responsibility and who probably give back to the community – are not failing because of the recession. Great companies’ fortunes are not being seriously jeopardized due to the recession. And although this may not be true across the board – as the recession has definitely effected us all in some way, shape and form – great companies have laid off few people due to the recession.
You see, the recession (or whatever it is) is simply the great equalizer. In true Darwinian fashion, it has separated the weak from the strong, the wheat from the chaff. It has simply killed off entities that should have died years ago, but that were managed “just good enough” to survive due to overwhelming prosperity.
Some of those entities now hang on by a thread, just waiting, praying, HOPING that the recession will end soon so that they can continue to mismanage their businesses until the next downturn and wait, pray and hope their way through that one too. While others have gone the way of the Dodo because of the big, bad, recession.
Sound like any companies you know? That you have worked for? That you have invested your retirement in? That you may still be working for? It’s a long list, but I won’t go there…
The point being (and yes, there is a point to this post,) that I believe that just as prosperity is wonderful cover for poorly managed businesses, the recession is an even more convenient excuse to blame one’s misfortunes on.
Too harsh? Maybe. Too close to the truth? I’ll let you and your current or former boss be the judge of that.
Me, I’m just tired of excuses and frankly, I can’t wait for this epoch to end so I can see who survives and how.
What about you?