My pep talk for 2009

50375967 Bloggers around the world today will be participating in a global half time report…talking about how they see the first half of 2009 and what we can look forward to for the next six months.  All of this is part of the 24 hours of innovation.  You can read the other bloggers thoughts here and watch as new ones get added throughout the marathon.

The project asked:  Let’s all share our views on 2009 up until now. What is your advice to the world? Which projects have surprised/disappointed you so far (in your industry or in general)? Are people motivated enough to start new projects? Which solutions can innovation bring?

I asked readers to add their thoughts to the mix as well but here's my take.

I've owned my own business, packed with the same joys and woes of any business owner, since 1995.  And in that time span, have endured some of the worst economic times the US has seen in decades. 

I can vividly remember the period right after 9/11 when it felt like our entire world simply froze in time.  Finally, as businesses and our nation realized we could not stand still and mourn forever, even though that is exactly what we wanted to do.  Many business people bemoaned that they wanted and needed things to go back to normal.  The reply was….this is the new normal, learn to be successful in this economic environment or you won't outlast it.  Your business will be stronger for it.

And so it was.

Now today, it seems as though the recession has the entire world and the business owners within it in that same sort of mournful stupor.  The media pounds us with the dismal news every day and for many, they sit frozen in time, glued to the bad news just like we were glued to the horrific images of 9/11 that we literally sat and watched for days on end back in 2001.  All too often, I hear business people talk about "waiting for things to get back to normal."

Guess what….this is the new normal.  And if we don't turn off that TV (computer, radio, newspaper) and look around us, by the time the economy recovers, we'll be irrelevant. 

As I travel around the country, speaking at conferences and conventions, I see and hear a different kind of news.  I meet business owners and leaders who say business is good.  Or picking up.  Or they are trying something new (out of necessity) that is really catching some traction.

Typical of the media, they are focusing on the few and the huge.  Are those industries (auto, big bank) having some trouble?  No doubt.  But, were they also bloated and inefficient and the shake up will make them better.

This can actually be an amazing time of innovation, business growth, improvement and profit.  If we pick up our head and really see what's real, rather than what is being reported.

My pep talk?  Whether you are an employee, business owner, solo entrepreneur or leading a huge corporation — you can't wait for "normal."  This is our new normal.  Learn how to thrive in this time by asking new, better questions, by creating collaborations in fresh ways and by behaving our way out of this recession.

I truly believe that it is the small and medium sized businesses that are going to save the day and bring back better economic times through sheer will power, their drive to serve and bigger, better ideas.  And, we'll all be the better for it.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]