I’ve been thinking for a while that this “economic downturn” is a long-overdue winter in our perpetual (illusion of) summer here in the USA. Eventually the over-picked, under-watered plants need to shut down and regenerate or they will die. This may sound depressing and cold in the sun-starved northern hemisphere, but in fact its a fundamental process that allows life to continue. Plants that are in relative harmony with their surroundings and weren’t already diseased will survive and thrive come spring.
The same is true for us as individuals and for the organizations we lead and are part of. Getting back to our roots, our core, focusing on the basics, and remaining in harmony with our surroundings are essential to surviving winter and preparing for new life in spring.
Late last week, I hosted a table discussion at a well-timed forum about leading in an economic downturn put on by United Way of King County. Jon Fine, the CEO of the United Way here in Puget Sound, suggested some important strategies for nonprofits to weather winter, which I thought could be applied to us as individuals as well. Here is my synopsis of his most useful points:
- Don’t be in denial about it being winter – plan, prepare and dress warmly!
- Remember and focus on your core – what do you do well and differently than anyone else?
- Be transparent and honest. In winter, everything is visible to everyone else. We can more easily see your tracks, and are more attuned to each other because we need each other more.
- Conserve your energy for what’s really important. Don’t chase or create non-essential projects or new markets right now.
- Be efficient! Do what you need to do with as little effort and expense as you can, but do it well!
- Let go of what isn’t working so you can focus on what is working. There’s no shame in letting go!
And finally, don’t forget to be grateful for the many blessings you do have and ENJOY what there is to enjoy about winter!
Warmth and peace to you and those you love.
December 15, 2008 at 4:53 pm -
Thank you Jill for this insightful article. These tips will be very helpful for not only non-profits, but also for-profit businesses. I will be sure to keep this in mind as we continue to grow the webprodigy.com business and assist our clients in helping them grow their businesses on the web. One great thing to keep in mind is to connect with resources that will help reduce overhead. I’d like to recommend using effecient resources, such as the web to improve operations and customer service and increase sales.
December 15, 2008 at 5:00 pm -
Good point Lynn – I think these points are very relevant to small businesses, and large! I know the web and technology in general have been very helpful to me in growing my business efficiently and staying in touch with my clients.