"Rule number one," Rahm Emanuel said, "never allow a crisis to go to waste." Wise statement. Poorer managed organizations miss the point. Fear constricts, and many companies just start cutting, willy nilly. But the better organizations take advantage of crisis, whether unexpected competition, recession, or even bankruptcy. They check out their strategy, and stay focused on their core business, maintain the long-term view, and relentlessly (yes, relentlessly) manage costs. Inevitably, that will mean reducing head count.
One thing you can be sure of is that the better organizations take crisis as an opportunity to cut out dead wood. They think through current personnel, revise future personnel requirements if needed, and dismiss low-achievers. That's an important warning. But there are some important steps you don't want to miss for using the blowback from a crisis.
Key Point: Professionals who think strategically about their career will also take advantage of a crisis. Recessions, for example, can be used to clarify your oganization's real personnel needs and skills. Recessions provide the smart businessperson with opportunities to sort through his/her toolkit and refocus personal development. They enable you to ask the questions necessary for success in this demanding talent age. How useful are my competencies to my organization? Are some of my skills obsolete? Do they need updating? What new experiences will provide me with richer opportunities? What do I need to learn to more successfully managing my boss and his/her peers? In managing up, what does my boss need from me? And what do I need from him? What technical skills am I going to be needing in the near future? And what people skills do I need to learn? Then, the biggie, how can I get myself into a different project or setting that will enable me to stretch, and learn what's necessary?
Thoughts? Do you have more and better ideas? Let me know.