At Plus Delta, we have experienced an ever increasing flow of feedback from our clients and others that the long anticipated economic recovery is happening and the pace of the recovery will increase significantly. The information we have received is corroborated by government figures and statistics – for example: the Consumer Confidence Index rose in December, the first time in over a year; the Monthly Home Sales Prices are up for the 5th straight month and over the last 3 months have risen nearly 20%; the Gross Domestic Product increased 2.2 percent in the third quarter of 2009 as compared to the 2nd quarter of 2009.
A recovering economy dictates that your organization must be prepared for changes. Our business climate dramatically changed in 2008 and early 2009 when the U.S. economy nearly came to a complete halt. Processes in your organization were also changed; people assumed multiple roles while they tried to accomplish the same amount of work as two or more downsized workers.
Getting frustrated by conflicting demands to continue to stabilize your organization through the traditional methods of cost cutting, job layoffs, hiring part time workers, early retirement of older workers, etc.– while trying to ramp up for the arriving economic recovery will do no good.
What is mandatory is that planning must start right now. You must begin to work with your organization to prepare for a long anticipated positive move forward. You hoped for it; you asked for it, even begged for it. Now you have got it. But what to do? Here are 5 steps to get you started:
- Learn about your organization’s performance. Do this by collecting relevant data about performance by your organization, by the competition, and by requirements of the new emerging economy. Interviews with key stakeholders, clients, and suppliers are an essential part of understanding where your organization’s performance level is and where it has to go.
- Do a SWOT analysis – be brutally honest about your firm’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Done correctly, it will provide very important information and lead to a good understanding of next steps.
- Conduct workgroup feedback sessions to gain valuable insights from the “experts.” Those who work in the processes know what will be required of them to make the changes happen. They will give extraordinarily valuable insights to next steps and how difficult the changes may be.
- Examine where your processes are today and where they will need to be likely changed, updated, completely reworked, or simply tweaked. This examination will serve to demonstrate how complex a change will be required to perform in the new, now emerging economy.
- Conduct a survey of employees, customers, suppliers, and management to help verify all of the items you have discovered.
After you have grasped the extent of the needed changes, you are in a relatively good position to begin to plan the changes themselves, the timing of the changes and how to avoid negative impacts of the changes on the organization. You can begin to do sensible “makeover” plans and start the task of properly managing your processes for a leading role in the future of your organization.
The details of the work you do to get to this point and to move forward will provide you with the structure and plan to manage the changes that are necessary to successfully deal with the new, fast approaching economy.
Where does your organization stand? What are your most pressing challenges? Need help or have questions? Please contact us. We enjoy challenges!
Jack Weber is an Executive Consultant with Plus Delta Consulting, LLC