Survival Strategies

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By Lin Grensing-Pophal, SPHR Feb 1, 2009
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February 2009 Cover

The Forum Corp., a Boston-based management consulting company, reviewed research on past recessions to identify actions that corporate leaders and managers should take to enable their companies to weather the downturn and emerge poised for success. It identified actions that successful leaders can take during economic downturns to settle their organizations, keep them headed in the right direction and emerge on top. These include:

  • Encourage questions and new ideas by making it safe for employees to raise them. Leaders who admit they don’t have all the answers and ask for input empower their people to contribute their best ideas.
  • Communicate authentically. Strong leaders acknowledge the challenges they struggle with and, by doing so, build trust among followers. Rather than being a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength.
  • Make sure all employees are on the same page. When alignment on key goals is absent, performance suffers, according to studies on strategy execution. Top leaders frame agendas and meet with key stakeholders to gain support and build commitment to overarching goals and values. Ineffective leaders let interoffice politics fester and hidden agendas dominate.

The author is a Wisconsin-based business journalist with HR consulting experience and is director of corporate communications at Luther Midelfort-Mayo Health System in Eau Claire, Wis. She is the author ofHuman Resource Essentials: Your Guide to Starting and Running the HR Function (SHRM, 2002).

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SHRM article: To Ask or Not to Ask (HR Magazine)

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