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Avoid Rash Decisions to Weather the Down Economy

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 28, 2009

As we see it, most businesses make fairly good decisions, but with a bit more effort they can make even better ones. And now is the time for better decisions. For the next few quarters, good decisions will be rewarded (in the long run at least), while rash ones may prove fatal to businesses small and large.

One area to start looking at is the workforce. During the 2001 shakeout, there was a pretty simple formula for struggling but fundamentally strong IT companies to follow: slash the workforce, reorganize key departments, and wait for the bounce that Wall Street seemed always to reward for leadership shown. But the bounce is gone, at least for now, so slash and dash changes may not be the way to go regardless of your company’s size. Even so, most organizations will still need to make some cuts in order to meet targets. We recommend starting the process over:

• Take the Wall Street bounce out of your objectives list.

•Create an updated version of your criteria, taking into account short- (three to six month) and longer-term (six to 36 month) objectives.

• Meeting cost targets will always be vitally important, but be careful not to overweigh these criteria at the expense of other strategic goals.

• In general, we recommend narrowing your list to five to seven important, achievable criteria.

• While all are important, there is still a need to prioritize and differentiate among the top objectives.

Now you are ready to think about alternatives.

Good strategic human resources decisions that help with short-term challenges and prepare for mid- and long-term competition will be rewarded. Remember, the best reason to survive today’s economic downturn is to flourish in tomorrow’s growth. With renewed, prioritized criteria, you can now think about the best ways to fulfill your objectives.

Rich Dougherty
Expert Choice
Arlington, Va.

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