Good & bad downturn advice

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I have commented on some of the consultants’ and journals’ advice in earlier posts, so thought I would share what some senior execs think who I’ve been asking in recent events. Here’s just a few … 

I asked for two ratings – Useful [no, a little, very] – and Dangerous [no, a little, very] – and allowed people to respond with both if they felt a suggestion was both potentially useful, but also came with dangers. Following are the most common views – with no initial prompting from me! Note that other views were justified in specific cases.

De-layer management

Useless and dangerous in most cases. Most felt it should only to be done in extreme crisis – like danger of bankruptcy.

Consolidate support functions

Possibly useful and not too dangerous, provided it did not distract management from other important tasks.

Redefine your business model

Useless in most cases and dangerous diversion from managing the business.

Save the core at the expense of the periphery

Very useful, and not too dangerous. With prompting, most felt their firms had over-expanded away from their core in the first place.

Buy up cheap assets – or whole businesses

Very useful and not dangerous if current business was not struggling too much.

Pick up good people who become available

Very useful and not dangerous. Most have found it tough to get the people they needed before the crisis, so see this as a great opportunity.

Keep going with all strategic initiatives

Could be useful but also dangerous … most thought they had way too many ‘strategic’ initiatives that should never have been started. Conflicted with the better advice above to focus on the core.

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Comments

  1. Hans Schepers  April 5, 2009

    interesting, pointing again at “it depends” as generic answer. For example, “Focus” and/or “Strategic initiatives” (interpreted as capturing options outside core focus) should probably be “done” _depending on_ some third indicator lead variable. It would be most valuable if you could indicate which generic lead indicators justify one action or another, if such things can be formulated at all.
    Maybe: “if after-sales constitutes relatively too much of revenues vis-a-vis new sales in a captive customer business model, new products (strategic initiatives) would be required to lessen the vulnerability of milking a core cash cow.”

    reply

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