“My world is what I make of it and I choose to make it a prosperous place to be.”
(Click the affirmation to hear the mp3 version)
There are positives in everything and the current economic and mental environment is no different. However, just as in our individual lives, our collective life must be driven by productive, empowered thoughts followed by committed action if we are to succeed.
Einstein’s famous quote is true here in spades – the level of thinking that got us here will not get us out.
We are in a recession. That’s not a big revelation to the employees who have lost jobs or companies who have seen their stocks tumble in recent months. What is a recession? Well, the technical economic definition is three consecutive quarters of shrinking GDP.
In the old days, recessions use to be called panics. This is probably a more apt term than the sanitized word recession. The word panic indicates human thoughts and human responses to a situation. To be clear, our economy is having a giant panic attack.
Now is the time that the power of our thoughts can be exposed as cause and solution to these issues.
I would argue that recessions are as much psychological as they are economic. I’m not suggesting that some pretty big mistakes (perhaps even corruption) did not occur in our economic structure bring us here. Only that the extent to which we experience the recession has and continues to rely on the thoughts of people and the actions that flow from those thoughts.
Henry Paulson and other leaders since have tossed around words like “recession”, “depression”, and “catastrophe”. We all have images in our minds that correspond to those words and they are not good. So people begin acting in a way that follows the thoughts that have been planted.
Markets didn’t drop 40% in recent months because companies were suddenly worth 40% less than they were before. They dropped because human beings experienced panic and sold, sold, sold.
Credit didn’t dry up because banks (especially after the government bail out) didn’t have funds. They dried up because humans at banks experienced panic that if they loaned money they wouldn’t get it back.
Fewer Customers for All?
The layoffs that are occurring right now are happening because CEOs and CFOs are experiencing panic. They have been taught that they must captain their “ships” to maximum profit at all costs. In a normal situation, that makes perfect sense. The market determines winners and losers and those that don’t succeed retool or go away.
Layoffs happen as a result, but in calm seas those laid off can swim to other “ships”. They can continue to be consumers. All is good.
This environment is different. Corporate leaders must show vision, courage, and thinking beyond the quarterly numbers for their own sake and that of the broader economy.
In the current economic and mental environment, this usually smart business response – cutting labor costs to save – is counterproductive. This is a stormy sea (mentally and financially). As “ships” continue to throw people overboard to save themselves, they forget that all the other “ships” are doing the same thing.
They forget, at their peril, that their own choices magnified across the economy only deepen and worsen the situation – feed the storm and make it stronger. Because while a company sheds employees to save costs, other companies are shedding that company’s customers and potential customers.
This short-sighted approach means fewer customers and potential customers for everyone. It slows possible recovery and deepens the abyss.
When the entire fleet (economy) is experiencing seas like these, enlightened business minds should see that layoffs are not the way to economic survival. They are the way to further collapse.
Corporate leaders need to step up and stop the job carnage now before they decimate their own markets. Will profits drop for a while, if you keep employees? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Employed people make better customers than unemployed people.
What will you tell WALL STREET? Well, I’d say Wall Street isn’t in much of a position to judge anyone right now. Maybe this is an opportunity reverse the business power structure and gain back some ability to make long-term decisions for your company rather than having to “manage by the quarter” for Wall Street analysts.
Minds can and must change.
Working together and with the right mindsets, we can come out of this situation stronger and better. There is much opportunity in all of this. We may see the emergence of new virtual entrepreneurism that makes corporate structures obsolete. This all could be transformation as much as recession.
Regardless, it is our thoughts created this circumstance and they will lead us out of it. The question is how long will it take us to get it?