Over the past few weeks we have been confronted with so many negative images and stories about the financial crisis that it is making me wonder if some of us are spending too much time staring at our dashboard indicators, rather than at the horizon ahead of us?
The secret of successful entrepreneurship is anticipation and adaptability. Anticipation involves keeping your chin up and keeping your eyes wide open, scanning for the best way forward, seizing (if not inventing) opportunities as you see them. Staring at your feet, to where you are right now, will not help you.
We have spent so long looking at our reliable indicators that I think we all have a pretty good indication as to exactly how deep and wide the crisis is and how much bigger it is likely to become? Now is the time to build bridges, to find new ways of avoiding further disaster by looking for creative strategies to forge a new way ahead.
The tools we used to create this crisis are not the same ones that we will need to circumnavigate it or even to kick start the flow of cash again. I can understand that politicians and business leaders do not want to create false hope or be disrespectful for those hardest hit by the current crisis. But we simply must remember that financial crises have come before. Perhaps not as bad, but we know that the first communities to recover are those that accept their reality and adapt to it the soonest. Now is the time to sit with younger minds and to take on board the fact that not only is the world economy fundamentally changing, but so are our business processes.
We are living in a world where many of the most successful and cash rich companies are giving their products away for free! The old rules do not necessarily apply anymore. Sure we have ‘traditional’ businesses that produce essential products for the world to consume, but the leaders of these industries must also look for creative ways to act more locally by using the power of their global information communication systems and trading methods to discover new efficiencies and opportunities. Cost saving on current overheads alone will not inspire the creation of a new frontier.
On Thursday I looked at my Huygens barometer only to notice that the alcohol was reading off the scale (see the image above). Being my normal arrogant self I assumed that this was down to some kind of fault in the apparatus. But then logic kicked in: Huygens barometers can not ‘go wrong’, they have been working accurately for the last two hundred years or more – so what do I conclude? That I am witnessing an extraordinary event, the likes of which almost never happen, I conclude that I am still alive, my house is still standing and my cat is still asleep on the radiator, oblivious to the panic in my head. The reason I do not feel the storm is because I am in the very heart of it, in the centre of the low depression, where the wind is still. On the edge everything is in chaos – the devastation is merciless. Where I am the sun is still shining and everything is calm – now is a good time to think and make plans, knowing that things will change and that I will need to change with them.