I’ve had enough, how about you?

A different outlook just might help you stand out!

Having been back to work for a little over a week now, I think I am ready to say it. ENOUGH! Enough already with all of the negativity. Don’t get me wrong, I am not naive and I see what is going on. I read the same news as everyone else, see the same doubtful prospects on the horizon and am frightened to the point of paralysis every time I think about our company’s prospects for 2009. That being said, it is time to stop complaining about it and time to start thinking about things in a different way.

Optimism is certainly not the answer to all of our prayers. A shift in perspective is not likely to immediately turn things around. However, taking a proactive response to hard times can make a real difference as to how you weather them.

I have been spending quite a bit of time thinking about this. I continue to ask myself a few key questions:

  • Have I communicated enough? – Don’t stop at acknowledging the hard times with your customers. Talk it through with them. It is more important than ever to understand the goals of your customers (and the goals of their customers). Many companies take the approach of “we know best,” but more than ever it is essential that you get on the same page with every level of your distribution.
  • Is our business flexible enough? – In times like these it is essential to remain fluid. Change is going to be an essential part of survival. There are also opportunities that can be leveraged if you take the time to search them out. Keeping your options open and your infrastructure nimble may be the keys to long-term success (and possibly survival).
  • Are you working hard enough? – A retailer I admire in my industry has taken to using the phrase “Working twice as hard, for half the money.” Amazingly, he manages to pull this off without sounding negative. He is simply stating a fact. In times like these, there is no better solution than digging in, working hard and persevering.

There is no doubt that it is hard to stay positive these days. In fact, I am probably writing this to remind myself as much as it is for anyone who comes across it. It has been a rough few months for everyone out there and I am looking forward to better times as much as anyone else. However, I plan to do whatever it takes to keep my attitude upbeat regardless of the challenges ahead.

How are you coping with the times? Any helpful hints on how to stay positive? Be sure and let me know.

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