What important lesson are we learning from this recession?
We are all familiar with the adage of “learning from our mistakes” and in business there probably is no more powerful a lesson than one that costs us time, money or reputation.
Recessions can be harsh and the impact can have far reaching effects that call into question all aspects of the business model within your organisation, from your staff, the processes that you operate, your products and services you sell and the clients and customers that your business depends upon.
I don’t know whether the decisions that business owners make in order to counter these effects are just part and parcel of steering the corporate ship or because recessions are cyclical, they should just be considered part of the leadership challenge that we all have to go through. I do know however, that if business leaders do not adapt and respond appropriately, then the lessons learned can be very harsh indeed and there is a distinct possibility of paying the ultimate price.
Governments and economists all over the world are evaluating the causes and impacts of this latest recession, in an attempt to establish the best ways out of it and to hopefully avoid the next one.
It is a serious challenge when you consider some of the key facts that have contributed towards the current status quo. Inflation has risen at double the rate of real term income for over 90% of the population in the western world over the last 20 years. Borrowing in the run up to this recession reached all time highs removing any possibility of a return to significant consumer spending, while we look to repay the increased debts that have been accrued. Banks are not lending to consumers anyway and businesses that can borrow from the banks are choosing not to, as the development of future products and services is stifled by the decline in consumer demand.
So, if consumer spending is unlikely to return for a few more years, where do governments and business leaders look for inspiration and a plan that can lead to the desired economic growth?
A good place to start might be to look at those companies already doing well in spite of the recession because it seems to make sense that we should proactively pursue the proven, successful strategic path of those practitioners who have already established a winning formula.
You might think that this information would be the closely guarded secret of the entrepreneurial community, but in a new book called “Lessons Learned From The Recession”, that was recently published as part of The Business Leaders Book Club series, 60 such business leaders documents their actions and provides both tactical insight and practical advice on how they each managed to thrive during the last few years.
It is an easy and obvious starting point and a much preferred course of action that follows the adage 'why reinvent the wheel', instead of 'learning from your mistakes'.
What I really like about this book, is that they have selected business leaders from across the world, from diverse industry sectors and each with a completely different set of circumstances, so you get a range of solutions and practical advice to suit all styles of business. Also, the editors have ensured that the chapters are all told in a very personal way, with practical advice added as a generous addition, rather than the usual coaching style that most business writers adopt. This makes it feel real, personal and more valuable.
What you might find even more surprising is the fact that they are giving the book away for free as a download in pdf, kindle or ipad format, encouraging me to believe that these people really do want to share their knowledge rather than exploit it.
The book is obviously a clever marketing ploy by Ask the Experts , a social media site for business professionals, to grow its membership, by giving the book away to people that sign up to their free membership site but if they are willing to give away products as good as this, for free, then it seems a fair exchange for my email address and a monthly newsletter.
Perhaps members of government and economists should all also get a copy of this book, so that they can start to formulate some strategic planning around the systems that appear to be working already?
Ask The Experts: www.asktheexperts.org.uk
Download the book here: http://www.theebooklibrary.co.uk/75-the-business-leaders-book-club
Paperback discount code: BLC1000