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Tag Archives:: market turbulence

Be grateful for the bumpy ride

I seem to be meeting more and more people in business at the moment who are concerned that the economy is bumpy and unpredictable.  You can certainly feel a lot of turbulence in the air; Brexit, Trump, FX rates, inflation, Russia, Middle East, fake news etc. The truth is that if you could fly up to 100,000ft and look down at the last 50 years you would see that this level of disruption is actually quite normal. 

The new normal

Over the last half century there have been over 400 financial crises – 35 of those have been in major economies. At the same time, the level of international trade has grown from $1 trillion to $30 trillion. This level of growth, and the supply chain development needed to feed it, offers a massive range of opportunity no matter what your business does. If we spool forward just 10 years it is forecast that by 2025 The Internet of Things will consist of 1 trillion connections and be a $6 trillion market.

More turbulence, more change – and more growth.

In other words, the current level of turbulence is good news – for those companies and organisations able to think forwards and recognise how lucky they are to be living in a period of such exciting opportunity. 

Be an agent of change 

This is the opportunity that visionaries, entrepreneurs and inspiring leaders look for. They recognise that they are lucky to be living in a time of change. New markets, new technologies, new opportunities. In this new world, it is not about looking for market share, it is about looking for opportunity share. Scanning for new business prospects, thinking in different ways, inventing new services and processes. 

Whatever your role in your business or organisation, you have the opportunity to be an inspiring leader.

To encourage your colleagues or team to consider different possibilities – and to dare to dream about what could be possible; this is about changing the mindset and seeing turbulence as an opportunity and not only as a threat. Recognising, for example, that the European market will still exist in 2 years’ time and, while it may be different, it will still be there. It’s about encouraging new thinking within your organisation to determine how to be fast enough, and flexible enough, to get to the new market before others do.

Think differently, share creatively

The key to new thinking is the creation of a leadership culture which invites every member of the team to bring their ideas to bear. People are incredible. Give your team the permission to dream. Invite them to remove self-imposed limitations and constraints to reach new markets – or to compete more effectively in changed markets – and ideas will begin to flow.

This new world can seem strange and threatening but ignoring it won’t make it less so. Turbulence is energy. Look at major turbulence as freely available energy to drive the game forward. Be grateful that you are living in a period of energy and opportunity. 

Do not consider it threatening. Instead consider it exciting. 

If there’s one thing you should do today…

So my message is: embrace the change. Don’t think of the current turbulent situation as an opportunity to be a harbinger of doom, think of it instead as a stimulating opportunity to move forward in your business with energy, creativity and enthusiasm. And most importantly, free up the constraints around your team to allow them to bring those fresh and inspiring ideas to the table.

Think like a leader and act smart in times of turbulence

You can’t really miss it. The headlines, the endless discussions and debates, the boundless optimism from some and apocalyptic warnings from others. Unless you’ve had your head stuck in the sand for the last few months – and who, at times, hasn’t wanted to do that?! – the turbulence in the markets has permeated all aspects of daily life.

And there’s good reason to be concerned. There’s been more turbulence in the last 6 months than in the last 6 years.

But it’s not permanent – since 1970 there have been over 400 ‘financial and economic crises’ but in that same period international trade has grown from $1 trillion to $33 trillion. This is long term growth. 

You don’t have to look far to see that most of the headline column space is dedicated to short-term reactions. A cry goes up when a political or economic situation develops, and you react by taking your business in one direction. You then react again when the wind swings in a different direction.

There are investors who specialise in making money in these turbulent times by speculating that others will react in a certain way. They know that herd mentality is a strong force. When, as a business leader, you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place do you react as others do, or do you keep your cool? If you try and anticipate an outcome based on short term changes then before you know it, you’ve got yourself entangled in a situation that it’s difficult to turn back from.

Let’s turn away from the culture of reacting to supposition, rumours and those infamous ‘alternative facts’.

It’s not good for your own peace of mind, let alone for your business.

Your vision is the key

Instead, let’s focus on the core issue here. What are we trying to achieve? You just need to work on what your vision is (read my blog to discover more); What does success for your business look like? Take time to describe it, work out what it looks like, what it sounds like, even what it feels like.

Remind yourself that this is what you are aiming for. Immerse yourself in your total brand experience; it’s what the visitor sees, hears and feels whenever they walk into your reception, meets a member of your staff or browses your website. Your vision is on show from the moment the receptionist greets visitors and customers are welcomed to your offices.

And having a clear, transparent vision allows you to build a successful company.

Future-proofing your business

Start there, with the vision of where you want to be, and then work back to here, to where you are now.

It’s a straight line. If you start there and work back to here, focusing on your long-term strategy, you can then future-proof your business against reacting to short-term turbulence – which can only be bad for you and your organisation.

You can still be flexible!

I realise that you can’t be completely rigid. It’s not helpful to be inflexible as there will be some aspects of change you will need to react and adapt to. These maybe changes in legislation, currency fluctuations, emerging new technologies, etc.

As a businessman, I understand which of these factors impact my businesses. Which ones do you need to be aware of? How do we counter the negative influences and ride the positive influences?

Let’s look at an example of this:

Porsche GB: how I countered short-term market turbulence

I ran Porsche GB through the massive market turbulences of the 1990s. The financial markets were in turmoil, Black Friday hit, interest rates peaked at nearly 15%, and to cap it all, Porsche was deemed a ‘glitz and glamour’ brand by the press, one that was only focused on fast cars and celebrity endorsements.

porsche-wallpaper-550

To turn this around, we decided what our vision of success looked like. We focused on the key characteristics of quality, heritage, integrity and design and pushed through this message at every opportunity.  All parts of the business were aligned to this vision, from the receptionists through to the boardroom, from the glossy marketing materials through to the factory floor. We did not compromise. And the result? Porsche GB went from being No. 32 out of 32 in the brand satisfaction charts coupled with -20% profitability, to 4 years later hitting No. 1 in the brand satisfaction charts and +20% profitability. 

If There’s One Thing You Should Do Today…

So the message is: don’t lose your head. Slow down, define your vision of success, stick to your plan, hold firm with your strategy (look at my 1000 day plan). Remain the same whatever the market throws at you. Focus on getting better at what you do. Bigger will follow.