Managing in a Downturn: An Introduction

Post 1 in the series: Managing in a Downturn

Posts in This Series

  1. Managing in a Downturn: An Introduction
  2. Managing in a Downturn: The Good News
  3. Managing in a Downturn: Don’t Retreat
  4. Managing in a Downturn: Don’t Overreact
  5. Managing in a Downturn: Be Careful of Cost-Cutting Campaigns
  6. Managing in a Downturn: Keep Making Meaning
  7. Managing in a Downturn: It’s Time to Hire

This week we are going to do a series on managing in a downturn.

This leads us to two questions right away. First, why now? Isn’t the recession just about over? And second, if I’m not a manager, how does this relate to me?

Why Now?

Why do this series now, when it looks like the recession may be nearing its end?

First, the recession might not be over. Second, even if the economic contraction is over, it may be the case (especially if government policy doesn’t change) that an actual recovery could be a decent way off. So even if the downturn ends soon, there may be much managing in a down economy left to do.

Third, looking at how to manage in a downturn provides good lessons about management in general. The lessons you learn in a downturn are still relevant in ordinary times. Fourth, these lessons will be useful for future recessions, although after this one I don’t relish the thought that there are more to come down the road.

Why This is Relevant to Everyone

This series is relevant to everyone, even if you are not in senior leadership, because productivity isn’t just about how to be more personally productive, but also about how to be more productive as a society. Society as a whole is better off when everyone, not just senior executives, understands the things that make organizations effective.

It is also relevant in many other specific ways to people at all levels in an organization.

If you are a manager, it is relevant because you can apply these things as much as possible in your specific area. And it can hopefully give you a grid for understanding what the overall leadership of your organization is doing or is not doing. This, in turn, can help you contribute ideas and prepare for the next level of leadership.

If you are an individual contributor, it is relevant because you can fulfill your role more effectively when you understand the big picture in more detail. Further, the decisions made by the leadership in your organization affect you, so it will only be to your advantage to develop and refine your point of view on the matter more fully.

Last of all, this series is relevant even for those who are not employed by organizations, such as stay-at-home-moms, because all of society is better off when everyone, not just the specific people at the helm of an organization, understand the principles of management.

The more people throughout society who understand organizational management, the better.