An Englishman and an American were walking through the forest one day when suddenly, right in front of them, appeared a very large Grizzly bear.  The Englishman crouched down ever so slowly, removed his heavy back pack and put on a pair of running shoes that he just happened to be carrying with him.

“I am sorry to say this but those shoes are not going to be of any use my friend, that bear can out run you any day” whispered the American. “Indeed it can” replied the Englishman “But with these shoes and without my back pack I can outrun you and that’s the only thing that really matters right?”

I know it’s an old joke but it was re-told to me this week and I think it is so relevant to so many situations. Take for example doing business in our current recession.  Here in mainland Europe many companies are really beginning to feel the pinch of prolonged close to zero growth. Quite understandably, there’s a lot to worry about.  However I believe that too many business leaders are focusing way too hard on trying to out-run the bear of recession that they forget that it is really only their competitors that they need to be quicker than.

Assuming that there is a genuine need for their products or services and they are as fit as they possibly can be then all they have to do is to deploy a long-term survival strategy while retaining the ability to take advantage of the overweight unfortunates along the way.

I know it sounds harsh but, in reality it’s far better being fitter than the rest and surviving than being eaten by a bear. So my advice is to look at every single aspect of your business to be 100% sure that you have done everything possible to  become as fit and efficient as possible, while not trimming too far that you are unable to seize upon opportunities as and when they arise.

Have a good week,


PS I hope no one takes any offence about me using two different nationalities in this week’s blog, there’s no hidden message here – it’s just the way it was told to me.  If you have a better alternative, I will happily change it. H.