In the Event of Fire

Alan Potts Posted by Alan Potts, CEO, CoachDirectors Limited.

CoachDirectors provide a broad range of top quality executive coaching services including the training and development of fully-accredited in-house executive coaching capabilities. 

When the markets go south they don't call it a crash for nothing.

When the markets go south they don't call it a crash for nothing.  For most, it is a train wreck in every sense possible. Some may survive leaning on existing capital and assets, but for others, a crash can be the end of the road.

The business world can be volatile and despite vast troves of data from previous cycles, we as a species tend not to learn from our experience. Take the subprime mortgage crash for example, if the global banking crisis taught us anything it's that it will happen again.

There are so many lessons we can learn from the aftermath of the subprime mortgage crash, but perhaps chief among them is that of accountability. Jobs were lost, communities penalised and austerity reigned across the globes, but in many ways, it has been ‘business as usual’ for those who caused it all. No arrests, no leans and no sleep lost. In essence, the banking collapse was basically a massive exercise in debt transference and as pretty much everyone involved got away with it... therefore, there’s a fair chance the countdown has already started for the sequel.

Another takeaway from this and other crises is the speed at which they occur. One minute it's all buy, buy... sell, sell and the next, the accounting department is firing up the shredders. There was no warning, no sirens, no calm… only storm. So how can we prepare our firms against such violent shifts in the business world?

Preparing for the worst

We can't prepare for everything, but there are steps we can take to ensure we can cope with some crises when they occur. The key to it all is communication. Forewarned is forearmed, its an oldie but a goodie. The thing about some disasters is you can see them coming. Part of that advance warning is taking notice of the events that surround us. We know for example that Brexit is likely to be a volatile period and therefore if we plan ahead we can eliminate some of the hazards we are likely to face. Taking the time to understand any impending changes and how they are likely to affect our businesses is one sure way to protect them against upheaval.

The new GDPR legislation is another great example. If you take the time to read new legislation ahead of its implementation, you can not only get a head start on your rivals, you can halt catastrophe in its tracks.

Loose Lips Sink Ships

Another way to keep on top of dramatic shifts is to have open lines of communication throughout your company. By closing your doors you run the risk of ignoring potential threats and solutions or worse you can allow rumour to spread. If you allow the gossip mill to gather momentum, you run the risk of sowing the seeds of dissent.

Upwards is onwards

Often we escape disaster by innovation and if you're not prepared to listen to new ideas Darwinism has four words for you... survival of the fittest. In times of crisis, it is the organisations who have the capacity to adapt that thrive, while those who do not tend to perish. Blockbuster video had years of warning about what was coming, but chose not to act, whereas Lovefilm moved swiftly into streaming and ultimately ended up as Amazon's streaming service. To ensure your firm is not averse to change, it's a good idea to make sure innovation is always on the agenda.

Get a guided tour

The best way to make sure your business stays afloat when the floods come is to speak to someone who has been through it before. Coaches and mentors can offer invaluable insight into such crises and may have personal experience of liquidations, mergers and other extreme shifts in the status quo.