We are in turbulent times.
We are caught in the midst of global financial meltdown, affecting countries, companies, businesses, industries and, most of all, people.
Among countries, the United States, the world’s biggest economy, is in recession, which has affected countries in Europe, Asia, and the American continents.
In the business world, countless corporations and businesses in several countries producing diverse products and services, from cars to cellular phones, from banks to financial services, from appliances to restaurants and department stores, just to name a few, have suffered severe losses while others have already closed shop. These businesses were once thought to be very stable, strong, and profitable.
Even giant and admired corporation once considered institutions and leaders in industry were not spared.
Who would ever think that the venerable General Motors Corporation (GM), which for many decades was the world’s largest industrial corporation presently employing 244,000 people with subsidiaries and plants in 34 countries and sells vehicles in some 140 countries, is now heading into bankruptcy?
Because of the current global recession, millions of people in Asia, Europe and the Americas have suddenly found themselves out of jobs and have joined the ranks of the unemployed. Many are discouraged, dismayed, demoralized.
So, what shall we do to survive in these turbulent times, in these times of change and of rapidly changing environments?
History will tell us that in the 1990s, there was also a recession, and people have survived. For survival and growth are just a question of how we manage ourselves, our families, our businesses, our priorities, relationships and networks, and finances. And how do we do it?
Peter F. Drucker, considered the most influential management thinker ever, had an apt advice in his book titled “Managing In Turbulent Times” for the people in the 1990s and which is still very relevant to us today.
In turbulent times, says Drucker, the first task of management, which is also our first task, is to make sure of our capacity for survival, to make sure of our structural strength and soundness, of our capacity to survive a blow, to adapt to sudden change and to avail for us of new opportunities in the midst of these changes.
Surviving in these turbulent times calls for new challenges, new ideas, innovations, sometimes making sacrifices and trade-offs, and of new way of managing. It means doing a strategic assessment to know our internal strengths and weaknesses– like our knowledge, skills, attitudes, funds, assets, competencies, and of using these strengths to minimize our weaknesses. Our weaknesses could be lack of positive attitudes, limited skills in other fields, debts, static demand for our products, high cost of operations, and few market niche.
To manage efficiently in a time like this, there is no other alternative but to maximize our competitive advantage, our strengths and resources to cope with the threats in our external environment (e.g. recession, scarcity of supply and demand, lack of credit sources) to take advantage of the opportunities. The opportunities could be the availability of training for new skills, new customers for a new business, going into new fields of internet marketing and of making money online, or even relocating to a different city where the cost of living and operations is lower and where the demand for our products or services is higher.
But it is up to us as managers, business owners and entrepreneurs to ensure that we use the tools of management – planning, organizing, leading and controlling, to survive the recession and financial meltdown. This way, when recovery comes, we are still around to make our business grow, prosper, and profitable once again.
And survive we will if we know how to manage in these turbulent times.