We have all read that America's economic future is all about business moving forward and hiring. I love the idea that we as business leaders are now tasked with reviving the economy, it is not enough to just focus on creating success for our own organizations, we now hold the future of our country in our hands. We did not screw this up, but we need to step up and fix it - with partners.
Meanwhile, the national propaganda machines are all abuzz about America's recovery. Last week we read that retail sales were up - good news. And we read about Walmart sales being down - bad news. Car sales were up. But were car sales really up? Or was it the pent up demand for trucks? Employment was up. But how big a percentage of those upward numbers was the result of government spending? What numbers should we really be looking at?
Behind the economic recovery propaganda are the real numbers. Specific market stories that appear in the Journal and The Economist, reveal that there is no recovery. And that the government is going to make it even harder for the economy to recover as we are faced with increased discussions and realities around new taxes and new cuts. These are the types of conversations and actions that the media feeds off of, all resulting in a continuing economic struggle, making it difficult for business to see an end to this downward new normal.
So what does the new economy look like? What does the new normal look like? Where is the opportunity? What should business be focused on?
Planning and Innovation.
Our vocabulary has embraced the "new normal". Our actions continue to be reactive to this situation. Business must step up to the opportunities that are being provided by the customer and the competition. Business must spend time to re-learn about the new customer in this new normal. We are not going back to what was. Customers are shifting their lifestyles, their habits, their purchasing decisions, and business needs to understand the new customer in order to provide innovative products and services that they need.
Lastly the biggest opportunity business has is getting its head out of the sand. What a business will see is that every one of their competitors has their head in the sand, struggling with the same problems. Now is the time to look up and plan for the horizon. Otherwise businesses will find more than their heads buried in the sand.