When things finally "come back," what will they come back to exactly???
"When will things be back to normal?"
"What will it take to turn things around?"
"When the 'recovery' begins, will we be ready?"
Common questions these days. We all want to believe that things will be "good" again, the way they used to be, when we all (or at least most of us) had our jobs and credit flowed freely and real estate was a surefire investment. People actually bought things, all kinds of things, and for the most part we felt reasonably secure.
But rather than, "How do we get back to where we came from?" perhaps a more valuable question to ask is "Where do we go from here?"
At lunch today with a senior executive from a top TV network, we discussed this very topic. So many people out of work. What jobs will they go 'back' to? So many organizations changing the way they do business. What will business look like in the year ahead? To assume that tomorrow's landscape of opportunity will bear any more than a remote resemblance to that of the past is simply naive. Many of those who are currently displaced will never return to their former positions. Many business sectors that once flourished will never recover, or will at least remain out of favor for a very long time. Even real estate, as an investment, will be reconsidered.
The motivational book, Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life (possibly the most I ever paid per word for a book in my life) took a somewhat whimsical look at this very issue -- over a decade ago, when the last bubble was preparing to burst, the Internet bubble. The fabled mice that ultimately survived the much maligned cheese removal eleven years ago are the same variety who will flourish in 2009 and beyond.
The innovative ones.
Adaptability is a form of innovative thinking. (I'm sure this will be covered in greater detail in a future post.) It requires creativity, flexibility and the ability unhook oneself from the past. In order to innovatively adapt, one must operate from a perspective of possibility rather than limitation: explore the potential in a given circumstance, rather than focus on the challenges.
I sometimes think this way about my hometown of New Orleans. Katrina was the cataclysmic event that transformed the city forever. People talk of it "coming back;" but it never will, at least not in the way we think of coming back. It will be something different, maybe "better," maybe "worse." It will retain some of the beauty and personality and characteristics of its former self, and take on other entirely new attributes. The city and those in it will innovatively adapt.
The world around us is no different.
Be innovative. Work within the context of your environment and the opportunities it presents. And when things "come back," wherever they come back to, you'll be right there with them.