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:
- Jeff Immelt’s advice to GE’s executive team about the current recession:
“Keep your company safe, but build for the future.”
- Jack Welch’s timeless advice that I am always quoting:
“Deal with the world as it is, not how you’d like it to be.”
The bottom line: Recessions require even more leadership.