Alan Weiss’s Monday Morning Memo® – 11/20/2023
(A most happy Thanksgiving from Maria, me, and our family to you and yours. We all have a great deal to be thankful about, take a minute to consider that before you reach for the turkey!)
The US economy saw a Gross Domestic Product expansion of almost 5% in the third quarter, which is dramatic growth. The unemployment rate is under 4%. Disposable income has risen by 3% so far this year. Household net worth has risen 37%, after adjustment for inflation, 1919-1923, the fastest surge ever recorded. (Statistics are from several sources, consolidated in Zacks Investment Management publications.)
So why are we still seeing hotels with staff shortages and reduced services, stores with bare shelves, poor service responses from utilities, and a variety of other substandard responses to customers?
It’s because in this time of economic strength too many executives and business owners have been scarred and scared by the pandemic—now three years old—to the point that they’re afraid to make investments and afraid to innovate. It’s fascinating to me, for example, that United Airlines has excessive weather delays while Jet Blue does not. Or that Lowe’s has help in the aisles while Home Depot does not. Perhaps Jet Blue has special bad weather-avoidance jets, or Lowe’s has found a source of unlimited employees?
You can’t succeed in life if you’re permanently scared. (See my book, Fearless Leadership). We have choices when challenged: fright, flight, fight. The presumed danger in “fight” is metaphorical, because no one is shooting at us. Innovation—the heart and soul of “fight”—requires boldness, prudent risk, and resilience (because we won’t always succeed). But “hanging on for dear life” simply creates white knuckles, cramps, and eventual decline.
The only direction in which you can coast is downhill.
This is a great time to be a consultant or a coach. It’s not about rocket science.
It’s about not fearing your own shadow.
Fortune favors the bold. —Virgil
Be bold. If you’re going to make an error, make a doozy, and don’t be afraid to hit the ball. —Billie Jean King
You must be bold, brand, and courageous and find a way…to get in the way. —John Lewis