Forget the “Recovery” it’s a “Transition”.

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I continue to talk with a number of small business owners who still think that if they just hunker down and just hang on a little longer that the economy will return to normal. That is not going to happen. As Thomas Friedman says in his book “The World is Flat,” the transition that the US is going through will be painful for many large and small businesses. The key is to take advantage of this transition and rethink your business so that it is positioned to take advantage of this changing economy. But, that will require changing the way they do things, and that is uncomfortable.

Comfortable Problems
Many small business owners and managers prefer comfortable problems vs. uncomfortable solutions. They are willing to live with the problems they have rather than try to re-think how they will change and adapt that business. In other words they just want to keep on doing things exactly the way they were doing them and expect things to get better. The old saying “if you keep on doing what you’ve always done – you’ll keep on getting what you always got” is no longer valid. The new saying is “if you keep on doing what you’ve always done – you will get less!”

Hold a Retreat
One way to begin rethinking your business is to hold a retreat with all employees and managers. The purpose of this retreat is to put together a new plan and prepare to implement that plan.

So how do we change our business paradigms? Paradigms are common. Every business owner or manager has a set of business paradigms that govern the way they think and act towards the situations they find themselves in. Paradigms are functional. They help us distinguish what is important and what is not.

Believe it and You Will See It
Have you ever heard the saying “I’ll believe it when I see it?” Well, the paradigm effect reverses the common sense relationship between seeing and believing. Another words, our paradigms can cause us to “only see what we believe,” as a result, we are unable to clearly see the situation as it really is, but only as we perceive it to be. We must remember that there are several different ways we can tackle a business problem. We must be careful not to let our paradigm become “the paradigm” or the only way to do something. Paradigms, too strongly held, can lead to paradigm paralysis, a terminal disease of certainty. It is best to remain flexible in turbulent times and keep what author Joel Barker calls “paradigm pliancy“.

By: Tom Borg

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