Is It Time To Prepare For The Upturn?

Estimated reading time: 3 mins

Recession is as certain as death and taxes (I wish taxis were as certain on a cold winter’s night at 3am!). And guess what – so is the upturn. But who is talking about it yet?

Good News people: according to McKinsey’s Quarterly Survey , we are getting close to the bottom of the trough we call recession (although European business leaders say that there is still a longer, bumpier road ahead).

The cycle of boom and bust (which nobody can really stop) will turn full circle and the upturn will be upon us.

There is light at the end of the tunnel…?

We're not looking towards recovery But are we looking in that direction yet? My personal experience is No We Are Not . We are not looking towards recovery.

The current battle with keeping business going is consuming all the energy, all the air-time, and all the focus of management, at least in my industry (Financial Services). I am still seeing cycles of re-plan after re-plan to cope with declining budgets and lackluster sales. Do me and my colleagues see the light yet? No.

Get this though – just because I don’t see the light yet, I know it’s coming.

Not preparing for the upturn will mean that we will be caught with our pants down when it comes… whilst our competitors are running ahead in their jockstraps!

Prepare for the upturn Here’s the rub. Even talk about this evokes comments from blinkered colleagues on the lines of ‘Fiddling Whilst Rome is Burning’.

It could be political suicide to try to initiate new projects with the blind assumption that the upswing will be soon upon us. It takes someone with tremendous courage, political leverage and credibility to sponsor these projects, which will almost certainly disrupt current projects that are aimed at stabilizing core business. Is that you?

This is a major stifler of innovation. The fresh business ideas that would normally emerge in boom-times are being quashed. Growth opportunities are being put on the back-burner. When recovery does start, we’ll all be so beat and scared, we won’t be ready to begin that journey!

Hey, what about our people? The most worrying thing about not preparing for the upturn NOW is what our people will do when it starts. Will they want to stay in an organization still inward looking at the balance sheet, or a competitor that is going places with exciting new products and services? This is a Real Danger which we cannot ignore! I doubt we’ll even have cash to offer as a retention incentive. Our people will be GONE!

I wonder, who is going to be brave and put the first foot forwards into the future?

If you don’t believe in the phrase ‘Fortune Favors the Brave!’ – well, there are a few things we can do now to begin preparing for the upturn, without embarking on taboo projects or appearing to meddle whilst Rome is in flames.

Later this week I will be publishing a follow-up post which shares ‘5 Immediate Actions To Begin Preparing For The Upturn, Without Being Found Out ‘. You’ll know when it’s published if you subscribe to my RSS Feed .

Check This Out…

Here is a great clip from the Jeff & Mike radio talk show on the subject of the upturn.

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4 thoughts on “Is It Time To Prepare For The Upturn?”

  1. Upturn or flatline?

    I don’t know either…
    But since arriving in Japan in 1994 and expecting the upturn from the Japanese bubble burst of 1991, here I am 18 years later…

    … the Nikkei is at 25 year or so lows and the Japanese government is starting to (once again) hand out 12,000 yen (about 86 quid at the moment!) spending vouchers to each adult, including yours truly.

    With the UK now starting down the QE road, I’ve some doubts whether inflation and currency devaluation will drown those green shoots of recovery apparently already visible to certain government ministers 😉

    Anyway, yes I agree, bar a national default, some sectors are going to recover and quickly. But will financial services be among them? (I ask, since many IT folks did, and still do, find employment there.)

    1. simonstapleton

      Hey Mark do you think the west might also endure a 25 yr spell in the trough? What other sectors do you think will recover quicker?

  2. There are some industries that seem to be immune, actually. Healthcare is one we can think of.

    We think there are also sectors in IT that might show some resilience. Especially those that provide genuine opportunities for reducing operating costs (or are at least able to sell the idea). Outsourcing, maybe?

    1. Very good point. Thanks for your comment! Not all industries are at the same point or depth in the cycle. Outsourcing and cloud vendors are potential solutions to the effects of the recession, so should enjoy growth during this period, and is reflected by the emergence and strengthened positions of newer outsourcing geographies like Costa Rica and the Phillipines.

      Healthcare is a good example where the recession hasn’t really hit. People don’t stop being sick, right?

      Certain subsectors are also enjoying growth – discount supermarkets and clothing as good examples.

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