Fortune favours the brave
“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.”
– Elbert Hubbard
In such perilous times, a common response is for people to hunker down and not try anything new, waiting for the storm to pass. I came across some McKinsey research that I found interesting. One key conclusion is that only 60% of companies that were top-quartile before the recession retained their leadership position after the recession. My guess is the 40% of companies that lost their foothold were the ones that chose to hunker down and not do anything extraordinary in the fear that a wrong move would sink the ship. In reality, it is in such times that opportunities abound.
In the Aeneid, Virgil writes Audaces fortuna iuvat. Fortune favours the brave. One example of how to capitalise on the current recession is to look for opportunities to export. There are always new niche markets waiting to be tapped. If traditional European and American markets are slowing down, how abo
ut looking at the Chinese, Indian and ASEAN markets? Is there another way of packaging your product to deliver more value to the customer at the same price?
Chapter 1, Sun Tzu Art of War comes to mind: Generals must be assessed according to the following characteristics: wisdom, trustworthiness, benevolence, courage and discipline.
Leaders would need to summon all these attributes in order to navigate the recession and to capitalise on the opportunities.
I've just finished reading Jeffery Archer's “The Fourth Estate”; a recommended novel
in the tradition of Kane and Abel, if you haven't read this. I can see some key learnings for business. The dominant thought for me today is that fortune favours the brave.