Have you seen the news? It must be KILLING the media-moguls to be reporting something positive. I’ll bet they’re getting physically ill just hearing about it themselves. Instead of seeing our first quarter of negative growth which would be sign of an impending recession, what do we see? POSITIVE GROWTH!! That’s right, the Commerce Department today (Wednesday April 30, 2008) reported that gross domestic product or GDP expanded at a 0.6 percent annual rate in the first quarter, matching the fourth quarter’s advance and handily topping a forecast for 0.2 percent growth in an advance poll of economists by Reuters. Not only that but personal consumption expenditures rose at a 2.2 percent rate after increasing 2.5 percent in the fourth quarter. This indicates that people are still buying stuff and are confident about the economy. Awe too bad predictors of doom, the economy isn’t collapsing. My plea to entrepreneurs, who literally DRIVE this economy – STOP watching the news, STOP reading the paper, STOP exposing yourself to all the negative propaganda. START educating yourself, START believing in a promising outcome, and CONTINUE taking constructive action. This will have a positive impact on your personal economy and the entire economic structure.
I remember my 1966 Mustang. I sold it for $600 in 1976 before going to grad school and I’m still kicking myself over that! Everyone loved Ford in those days. But it’s not easy to believe in Ford these days. The auto giant has lost over $15 billion, closed factories, shed tens of thousands of jobs, sold-off Jaguar, Land Rover and given-up the No. 2 position in sales to Toyota!
Their new Chief Marketing Officer, James Farley, formerly with Toyota was rehearsing for his speech to dealers, stockholders and company leaders. As the lights dimmed, Mr. Farley didn’t calmly announce his future plans or quote statistics. Instead, he spoke from the heart, revealing a depth of passion for Ford that turned the room dead silent. He became swept up in the emotional power of the moment. “I believe, in many ways, the future of Ford is the future of our country,” he said. “The work here is simply more important than the work I was doing at Toyota.” When he finished, the dealers rose for a standing ovation that left Mr. Farley momentarily stunned. After the applause died down, he savored the reaction. They were waiting for someone to believe in.
Computers, automation and mobile connectedness has had a strange impact on people today. It has caused a desensitization of emotional response. We want to quantify and analyze everything. It is draining the passion and heart from all that we do. I would like to encourage business leaders today to let their true emotions show. Cry real tears, quake with true laughter and shake with anger if you must. Don’t downplay the power of REAL EMOTION. Your team is depending on your genuine emotional display to motivate them. It is the fuel for their continued belief and a precursor to talking action!
This is an interesting time. The recent layoff of 80,000 American workers has resulted in all of the financial gurus spouting their drivel about the global economic crisis we are facing. I have even heard some say we are entering another depression. Just a few days ago I appeared on FOX TV and discussed this with business expert Neil Cavuto. He asked me how I thought this was affecting small business owners and what they could do about it. My comments were that maybe we should put some of these gurus on the firing line of small businesses and see how they do. Their demise would be quick and final. Because as I told Mr. Cavuto, the most important asset that entrepreneurs have today is their attitude. Without a positive attitude we are doomed regardless of how well or how poorly the economy is doing. Many of us perhaps have heard the Serenity Prayer – “We must accept the things we cannot change, have the courage to change the things we can, and wisdom to know the difference.” Surely we cannot individually change the economy but collectively it is certainly possible. We can do this by focusing on the critical business issues at hand like, delivering a higher level of customer satisfaction, creative product development and line extensions, smart financial management, getting longer terms on payables, building customer loyalty programs and penetrating new markets. We do have the ability to turn this economy around but we must first look in the mirror and begin the change within. Do you have the courage to take that challenge? I sure hope so. All of our jobs might depend on it.