A man lived by the side of the road and sold hot dogs. He was hard of hearing so he had no radio. He had trouble with his eyes so he had no newspaper. But he sold good hot dogs! He put up a sign on the highway telling how good they were. He stood by the side of the road and cried, “Hey mister, buy a hot dog.” And people bought. He increased his meat and bun orders and he bought a bigger stove to take care of his increased trade. Then his son came home from college to help him and something happened! His son said, “Father, haven’t you been listening to the radio? There’s a big recession. The international situation is terrible, and the domestic situation looks even worse.” Whereupon the father thought, “Well, my son has been to college. He listens to the radio and reads the newspapers, so he ought to know.” So, the father cut down on the bun order, took down his advertising signs, and no longer bothered to stand on the highway to sell hotdogs. His hotdog sales fell overnight. ” You were right son,” the father said. “We are certainly in the middle of a terrible recession.”
When economic times appear to be tightening, short- sighted businesses cut costs in all the wrong ways. Like our ex-hotdog seller they pay too much attention to the abundant supply of naysayer. They do mass layoffs and hole up until the tide turns, but smart businesses understand that opportunity lies amid the turmoil.
Great organizations do cut expenses, but instead of taking down all their signs of hope and dismantling their teams, they take a longer view, especially when it comes to talented people. Their leaders become very intentional about helping both themselves and others become more resilient. They turn the suddenly available non-production time into an opportunity for training and mentoring. Then, when the market upswing comes – and it always does – their strengthened staff will stand sturdy with the skills needed to hit the new upturn head on and capture the market from hopeless shortsighted organizations.
Working Journal Entry: Have you taken down any signs of hope in reaction to the economic slump? What two decisions do you need to make today to be prepared when the upswing comes tomorrow in leadership and life?
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid and discouraged because of the King and the vast army with him. For there is a power greater within us than within him. 2 Chronicles 32:6-8.