February 05, 2004

How to Survive the Future: "FUTUREWISE - How to survive the FUTURE

Six Faces of Global Change - new edition of book just out this month

Managing through the downturn

Many CEOs I know are feeling battered and bruised right now. Hit by one event after another, there's little time to regroup or reflect, and the top of a corporation can be a lonely place. Profit warnings, share price pressures, painful layoffs and great geopolitical uncertainties can sweep away even the most comprehensive strategies - and that's despite outstanding management over many years. (This article was published in Leigh Advisor June 2002)

It's easy to lose sight of the bigger picture in the rush to cut cost and conserve cash. Hopefully you succeed in protecting the business, satisfying shareholders and analysts, but what about morale and momentum in the senior team?

To be a winner in the next three years you need to use the downturn to reshape for growth, propelled by an unshakeable conviction that your mission is still important, that more prosperous times lie ahead, and that in some way your company is helping to build a better kind of world. Your own passion for running the race matters most of all in a downturn when people are insecure and loyalty is tested.

Your corporation's future will be dominated by six factors, or faces of a cube, spelling F U T U R E. So if you are going to cut, then cut carefully for healthy fresh growth, and take the rest of the workforce with you with a renewed sense of direction. And what direction is that?

Fast: The world is changing faster than boards can think, so survival means scenario planning as far as possible before events happen, with rapid response plans, making every dollar count. Market research can't predict the future in a rapidly changing world - it just shows what consumers think. We "