The New World Order – Thriving and Surviving in Turbulent Times

I spent a significant part of the last decade working for a company that was in an utter fight for its survival in a declining market.   We had layoffs almost every 6 months for the 7 years I was there.  I’m repeatedly told I’m “old school”.  Maybe you could all use a little “old school” advice for working in troubled economic times:

  • Companies are going to have to restructure – those that are configured for rapid growth will need to realign to a more conservative posture.  Jim Louderback sums it up for many companies here…
  • You need to provide value – the company needs to get what it’s paying for, and the smart people provide a lot more than they’re paying for.  It’s a fact of life, get used to it.
  • Bad things happen to good people – yes, Joe or Sue were good people, sad what happened to them.  It’s not a reflection on them, as often it’s the project or the group that’s taking the cut.  Especially in round 2, 3, etc.  Keep your network up to date and help out where you can.  Remember, this isn’t personal, its business.
  • The 40 hour week is for losers – winners don’t work hourly, they get jobs done and turn in successful projects.  You can find success by turning the Google 20% rule around and doing that exploratory work outside of office hours.
  • Find cost savings – Simple things like switching to using Webex as a first line of customer service and sales before putting someone on a plane save big.  Or using Skype for internal communications first.
  • Think revenue – when I’m looking over a bunch of tickets for fixes, I look for the ones with revenue attached to them first.  Then I look for the ones that fix user problems,  Then I look at the ones that “improve user experience” and ask why even bother. The days when “hey wouldn’t it be great if…” was a justification for firing up the code editor are over, if they ever existed.
  • This is a knife fight, not a church social – actually, it’s more like a gang rumble.  If you’re wearing my Gang Patch, I have your back.  If you disgrace the colors, I’ll shoot you myself.

Tough times require tough people.  Tough times are also often the place where opportunity lives.  Find your success!

Please share your suggestions – what do you do to increase your value and make yourself key to the companies success?