Turn recession into a positive experience


While opposition parties and civil organisations blame the ANC and its president for South Africa’s current unexpected recession, there is at least one person who knows how turn the inevitable rough ride into a positive experience.

In 2009, towards the end of the “Great Recession” that gripped the US and which began in 2007 with the bursting of an 8 trillion dollar housing bubble, Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter spread some positive ideas.

In one of two different articles about the subject in the Harvard Business Review, Kanter had some tips that will follow below. In another article, Kanter says: “In a recession, everyone should be in marketing. Motivated employees contribute to creative thinking that can help retain current customers and identify new ones.

She said challenging times divide winners from losers. “Winners survive because they never forget the important enduring truth: High quality products and services are created by engaged employees who know and care about customers.”

She then made the following five suggestions:

1. Increase customer contact and communication.
2. Start looking for new markets now.
3. Invest in employee morale.
4. Emphasize and reward small wins.
5. Stick with your values.

(Read more about this here.)

Other tips from Kanter, on which she elaborates more here, are the following:

“Move while others are distracted. This is the strategy of a very successful long-term CEO who has steered a European company into global prominence as one of a handful of industry leaders. He cultivates important relationships during times of crisis when competitors are looking elsewhere, enabling him to make acquisitions others coveted but couldn’t get.

“Announce and own a grand concept. Okay, you might not be able to raise money for it nor do much about it now, but you will be well-prepared when markets recover. Ideas are cheap to begin to articulate and brand–and priceless once established.

“Get rid of things that have outlived their usefulness. This is a personal lesson, since I deal with crisis by removing basement clutter or giving away old clothes – nothing like that clean closet feeling, and the action is under my control. The same principle applies to businesses. Turbulent times demand that resources go to the high potential areas. If a company is still too cluttered with product SKUs that proliferated unnoticed, declining lines of business, meaningless rules or reports, or the like, do the housecleaning, fast. Even those who don’t like it will understand.

“Concentrate on helping your users, clients, or customers succeed. Always good advice, but now we have to really mean it. Obviously, companies dependent on their revenue-paying customers cannot afford to stand by while those customers decline. Sometimes that involves giving them extras for nothing.


(Read the full article here.)