Recession Leadership: Be Real, Communicate, And Look Ahead

Fast Company has an interesting Q&A with Ram Charan (author and management guru) about leadership in an economic downturn. My first post about managing in a recession, Lead Your Company Out Of A Downturn, was based on an article in Fortune Magazine by Charan.

I really liked Charan’s answer to the question: What is the biggest difference between the leaders who will be able to pull through and those who won’t?

There are three differences in the leaders in these circumstances. The first and foremost is defining realism, and then taking the actions now and not postponing them. The second thing is orienting people on the new reality with superb communications–internally and externally. And the third, coping with the toughness of the existing environment, but positioning the business to change the game after the storm.

My take: Take to heart the three things Charan prescribes for leaders in a recession: realism, communications, and future-orientation. It captures the essence of these great quotes by GE CEO’s:

The bottom line: Recessions require even more leadership.

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I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.