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Answer to a question…

 I was recently contacted and asked the question, “What unexpected hurdles have you encountered as a result of the recession?”  What follows below is my response.  I hope you enjoy!

We often think about the recession as being a completely negative event, but I tend to believe that there have been some positives that have come out of it, and will continue to as we rebuild.  This is a time of change, growth, and development.  What once was is no more, at least not in the form that it was then.

Let’s look for a moment at the changes that have happened in the large corporations (which, by the way, small to medium-sized businesses can learn from).  There is a giant paradigm shift taking place in the realm of transparency.  Many organizations are finding that they need to be more transparent at every level, not only from a legal standpoint, but also because it is what the employees want!  This is a revolution that there is no guarnatee would have happened without a tremendous shock to the system.

Companies are beginning to realize that their human capital is the most important thing, and beginning to re-evaluate the way that they develop, mentor, coach, and help their people to succeed.  Collaboration is no longer a dirty word, and neither is engagement.  Finding new ways to create collaboration and engagement, and what they even mean, is starting to make it to the top of the list of things to do for business leaders.  The realization that the recession has been hard on everyone, and if businesses don’t take care of their people they will be gone at the first chance they get, has become a reality.

And what about changes to the workforce?  In more than one article across many online and print publications you can find the irrefutable evidence that many businesses were scared at the potential fall-out of losing, in grand droves, the majority of their senior leadership and talent due to retirement.  With the recession, while it is tragic that people have had to postpone a well-earned retirement, it has afforded many companiesthe ability to utilize the talent that they have now to prepare the talent of tomorrow.

How many small businesses have come in to existence only because of the push instigated by the recession?  So many people, including myself, were in jobs that they felt they had no other option to be in and were too afraid to simply walk away from a “guaranteed” paycheck to set out on their own and blaze a trail.  Once given a push, many people have found that they have more fortitude and ability than they ever thought possible of themselves before.  Things may be tight at times financially, but these new business owners are doing something that previously they only imagined, and it might not have ever happened without the recession.

Have there been challenges because of the recession, and are there still more to come?  The answer is yes.  But small businesses can and are leading the way, and hopefully will be learning a lesson from the mistakes of the big corporations.  The business environment as we once knew it cannot, and should not, ever exist again.

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