Founder & CEO, STRe Solutions
In the spirit of sharing some positive ideas for today's challenging environment, I want to provide you with some tips for getting through these difficult times and ways to use this time to your advantage. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. Which will it be?
Let's talk about what you can do to increase the odds that you and your team won't be included on the next RIF list. Here are some positive, simple steps you can take today:
- Lead by example. Learn new responsibilities, get trained on new systems and have a breadth of understanding of your function that demonstrates your value to the company. Come up with new ideas that will help the company be successful and offer to pitch in when needed, even if it's "not your job." In tough times there is nothing like someone with a positive attitude who is willing to go above and beyond for the sake of the team! But don't be protective of your responsibilities for fear you'll lose your job, as that can be perceived as isolationist and arrogant.
- Recognize that change is often for the better. Remember the cliché survival of the fittest. Participate in, initiate and embrace change. Virtually every company is impacted by our current economic malaise. Lead the change, encourage other team members to embrace change and it won't be as scary.
- Be part of the solution. Once you've identified the change that needs to happen, be part of the solution. Don't put up a roadblock, don't resist it. Business process re-engineering is a key focus right now. Be creative, think out of the box, and speak up, make suggestions. Don't be discouraged if every idea isn't implemented, brainstorm a new approach.
- Contribute to the top line of the business. Too often I've heard people in accounting say "I can't connect what I do to the company's goals or growth." G&A is a vital part of any organization's success. If sales reps don't get their expense reports processed on time or if their commissions are incorrect that takes time away from their selling time. By helping the customer facing organizations be more efficient and productive you can positively affect your company's bottom line. And there is nothing better than a sales team singing the praises of the accounting organization!
- Invest in the future. Now is the time to make sure you and your organization are ready for the inevitable growth that will follow this downturn. Prepare yourself for it. Take a class to improve the skills you need to advance your career. Complete those work projects that are important, but never get done because it is never the right time. Make sure that 12 months from now when you look back on this time you can say "I invested my time wisely." Use this time to build trusted relationships within your organization which will enable you to thrive when the economy comes back.
- Be Prepared. Everyone's crystal ball is cloudy right now, and despite your best efforts, your company may be acquired, or be forced to lay some people off. It is important to keep your resume up to date, just in case. A great New Year's resolution is to update your resume every year. This doesn't mean posting it on the job board. It means being prepared and it's easier to remember the significant accomplishments and business contributions you've made when they are fresh in your mind. Additionally this list can be used as input to your annual self-review. You need to toot your own horn.
It is possible to survive and thrive!