10 Ways To Thrive In This Recession (Part 2 of 2)

 There are great opportunities in this bad economy. 

By Brent Filson - 4/2008

In my last article, I described five out of ten ways you can take action now to thrive in this recession. In this article, I’ll provide the remaining five.

I’m linking these actions to a powerful, white water experience I had in my youth through the leadership of our guide, Dave Powell. I’ve carried those leadership lessons that Powell taught me through a quarter of a century of working with leaders in all ranks and functions worldwide.

Because the lessons are tied to action, because they should achieve immediate (and on-going results) and because they were formed under pressure, these lessons are especially important for learning leaders in this downturn.

6) Make it stick. You’ll have a winning position in your company during a downturn if you can show that the increases in results you’ll help your partners get (See #4 of previous article) will not only happen IMMEDIATELY but will also go on CONTINUALLY.

Having leadership development live back on the job has been an on-going challenge in your profession.

Dave Powell showed us how to make experience live long after the experience is over. He drew wider circles around our endeavors. He insisted that the real shooting of the rapids began after it was over, and we took what we did, and what we learned, and what we shared into our lives afterwards. Through that vision, the trip was inspirational, almost spiritual, and our actions during it and our remembrance after it took on a special meaning that enriched our lives throughout all our lives.

Action:  The best ways to make learning leader programs stick is:

7) Measure the right results in the right ways. Measurements are needed more than ever in downturns if only because the margin for error is less forgiving.

However, corporate learning leaders often justify their programs by having them meet training objectives. To be relevant, leadership programs must answer the question, "What business measurements do the learning programs get increased results in?" The key is not just to attain results but INCREASED results. Without such increases, the metrics lack power and precision. So, "relevant" is an "absolute": it means absolute increases in business results.

In all the many measuring systems I’ve encountered, one thing has been lacking, the motivational dimension. Every measurement must be tied to the right business results but it must do something more: it must be a motivational trigger for the employees being measured.

The way you identify and measure motivation is through action.

Here is a measurement process. 1. Restate the outcome of your Initiative. 2. Decide how you will measure that outcome so that its meaning is quantified. 3. Develop a measurement system, and ensure that you and your cause leaders reach agreement on that system. (In other words: How will you precisely know that a goal is scored — or not scored?) 4. Institute the measuring system. 5. Periodically evaluate the measuring system with these checks: A. Does it measure the outcome we want? B. Is it consistent and reliable? C. Do my Cause Leaders understand and agree with the measurements? D. What are the measurement variations and how can we eliminate them?

Action: Drive Leadership Contracts.

8) Put yourself on the line. Many decision makers pull their heads into their shells during a recession, stop taking chances and hope things will go well until the danger passes.

For learning leaders, this is the time to take chances and put yourself on the line.

Sure, there are learning leaders who are convinced their jobs are safe in a downturn. And maybe they are. But I submit they we all are an expense item. And we have to justify that expense daily.

For instance, Dave Powell said just to be on that white water we were putting ourselves on the line. "We’re not in this world to play it safe. To live fully, we must take risks. But every risk we take must come from a foundation of training and hard work."

Action: Offer a guarantee to your clients, both within and without your company. If participants in my course don't receive an ROI that is at least ten times greater than their aggregate investment in that program, I give them their money back. (See my $50,000 guarantee.) And why not? If your clients can't get big increases in hard, measured results, it really hasn't helped them develop as leaders.

9) Make your programs EXPENSIVE. Being a results partner, you don't have to make your leadership programs inexpensive to protect them against cost cutters in bad times. Instead, make them expensive to the company if those programs are not instituted and supported.

This is not a play on words. It goes right to the heart of your success and your company’s advancements. For nearly a quarter of a century, I’ve been engaging companies with one fundamental principle in mind, that the most important determinant of organizational success is leadership. Organizations that fail to acquire, keep, and develop good leaders eventually pay dearly. They learn what is REALLY expensive.

I didn’t know it at the time, but the trip with Dave Powell was priceless. Before the trip, we looked upon what we were going to do partly in terms of dollar costs. But looking back on it now, I see the experience shaped my life in ways that can’t be monetized. The lesson: In a downturn, don’t let price drive out value. Price should determine cost, cost should not determine price.

Action: To make your leadership and your programs too expensive to reject by the cost cutters, you must validate the results you achieve and then communicate those validated results to decision makers. Your results-validation report should be only one-page and describe:

10) Immediately communicate those results throughout your organization. Here are just a few of the ways you can show the added value of your leadership progra

$50,000 Guarantee:
I can help your individual leaders boost their job and career performance. For instance, check out our one-day Leadership Talk sessions that comes with a $50,000 guarantee.

Here’s a one-day session for leaders.

Here’s a one-day session for sales/marketing leaders. http://www.brentfilson.com/pdfs/OnedayForSales-Marketing.pdf

Business Results:

Leadership is too important for the advancement of your client’s job performances and careers and also for the success of your company to have leadership development simply fulfill training objectives. For the past 22+ years, I’ve been helping leaders of all ranks and functions worldwide get great business results.

"Brent Filson knows how to help others get results! His programs are proven in a variety of settings including industry, government, non-profit and the military proving that the way he practices and coaches leadership can work for any organization willing to invest the time and energy necessary to influence their people to produce at their highest productivity levels.”
—Joe Javorski, Director, Worldwide Staffing, Analog Devices

Total Systems Solutions:

I can also help you help your leaders develop and execute unique, customized, total-solution systems for every function of your business. http://www.actionleadership.com/Leadership_Training.cfm

“One of the key components of Brent’s methodologies is their tremendous value in driving monumental change through the leadership of others in the matrix supporting your cause. The actions of developing cause leaders has allowed ordinary teams in my organization to achieve extraordinary results.”
—Robert Cancalosi, Global General Manager, General Electric Medical

Lots Of Help On My Web Site:

On my web site, http://www.actionleadership.com you’ll find many of my books, articles, interviews, course descriptions, and instruction methodologies that will help you in many ways boost your job performance and advance your career by helping your clients get the right results in the right ways.

Best wishes,

Brent Filson
Brent Filson