From crisis into progress

The word ‘crisis’ does have unmistakably a negative implication. Crisis is related to disruption in growth, mental dip or decrease. Though, the origin of the word crisis is much more positive. The word crisis originates out of Greek and means moment of truth. A moment in which a decision has to be taken, in other words a turning-point.

By many people, especially those with the conviction that growth is always positive, crisis is experienced negatively.  A crisis, particularly the consequences of it, are often not that heartening.  Although some gratefully use crisis by blaming it to explain the deteriorating turnover and profit.
Currently entrepreneurs frequently do use the term crisis. The obvious, easy-going, business, whereby customers approaching the company and orders were taken, is over. Doing business is no longer a default occurrence. Even more, a fair number of entrepreneurs see their companies sliding into difficult circumstances. But hiding behind the crisis does not really help. Some things have to be done differently. It is crisis, so it is time for a tuning-point. Something has to change

A possible start could be by starting to think in terms of progress in stead of growth. One can grow without making progress. Growth is just nothing else than slightly more. But progress indicates change and innovation.

Change is not always self-evident. To make crisis into a turning-point, one needs to ask the question what to change to make progress. But change brings uncertainty. Where are we going? How do you get yourself and your co-workers to change? When times of crisis are already bringing uncertainty, will any more change not be too much to handle? Shouldn’t we hold on to what we are used to?  Is a crisis situation the right moment for change?

Sure it is, one has to change when hitting a bad economical run. When you sail close to the wind, there is no evident need to change much. But sailing in the wind’s eye you better realise, that when you can’t change the direction of the wind,  you ‘ll have to adjust your sails.
So mobilize the creative minds in your company. Your co-workers, your staff, yourself are having tons of creative thoughts each day? Look at the company. What is there to be done better? How can you serve customers better?

But before implementing creativity you have to know who you are and where you stand. Then you have to think about who you want to be and where you are going for.
So you better ask yourself and everyone in your company why you are doing what you are doing. That’s what determines where you stand for, who and what you really are as a company. This determines the reason of existence of your company, your real corporate values.
Who you are and what you stand for? What characterizes your company, the values you share together, is answered by the following question. ‘What do you really miss when your company, your department, will be closed and you have lost your job?. What you really miss, is what you really share together?’ In other words, the answer to this questions tells the fundamental motives why everybody is going to work every day.

The question ‘Were are we going for?’ is to be answered by asking yourselves what the customer will miss when you and your company are no longer there. Even better, ask your customers directly what they will miss when you are no longer around. Sometimes this may be a real eye-opener.

Once you analysed the connecting theme from the answers, you and your colleagues identify where your creative ideas and innovative ideas do fit in. However the provision for growth is that ideas have to contribute to what you are going for and are driven by what your standing for. That is what determines the range in which you are able to change.

Select a limited number of ideas to do something with. Especially select those ideas which do surprise customers and make them happy. Don’t think that much terms of more, but more in terms of being different, better new. Go for inspiration and innovation.
Once you do use this approach and you are full of inspiration and innovation then you only need some transpiration. Even if you don’t grow you will still make progress.
Using crisis for growth really is possible and it does happen. A study by Baker Tilly Berk and Nyenrode Business University reported that family-owned companies use a period of crisis as the moment for investments in innovation. These companies were going through tough times, but 40% of the 260.0000 family-owned companies in the Netherlands reported that a economical crisis finally has been good for the company.

Consider crisis as the moment of truth and a turning point. Rethink, innovate and change. But for most do think in terms of making progress.


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