How business execution improves survivability in tough economic times

NBC’s Today Show recently offered a segment called “Get Out Alive: Surviving a Plane Crash. ”  I was surprised to learn that 96% of people involved in plane crashes in the U.S. survive. The point of the piece is that not only is it possible to survive a plane crash, it is likely you’ll survive if you make the right split-second choices. 

Mac McLean, Civil Aerospace Research Institute, was interviewed at the Federal Aviation Administration’s Crash Training Facility in Oklahoma and offered the following insights based on their research and anecdotal evidence:

  • 15% of the people are prepared to “get up and get out”
  • 15% of people are incapacitated in a plane crash–either mentally or physically–and need assistance to get out
  • 70% of people are in between and can either be roused to act properly or lulled into doing nothing

We’re going to see the same phenomena occur during this economic downturn:

  • 15% of companies will thrive during this period of economic downturn
  • 15% of companies are going to suffer and either need assistance or die
  • 70% will either do something to improve their lot to come out of this downturn in a stronger competitive position or hunker down, do nothing and come out of the economic downturn in worse shape to compete in their marketplace.

It is said in nature that organisms are either growing or dying–there is no steady state.  This is true of businesses as well–there is no steady state. 

The marketplace is constantly changing and the top companies are constantly getting better.  Embracing a steady state is a prescription for an even darker future.

There is no better time to focus on closing  business execution gaps than a time when business is slower than normal.  This is a time when management has the bandwidth to properly examine issues and prepare for the next business upturn.

Where should you start?  Look at the core processes within your principal organizations:

  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Development
  • Operations
  • Service
  • Finance

Don’t just focus on survival; get ready to thrive.  That’s what your competitors are doing.  Shouldn’t you? 

What do you think?

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting


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