As our economy continues its crawl to recovery, we find ourselves taking stock more frequently. This stock taking is necessary for our business, and we think it's a healthy undertaking for most businesses and organizations.
As we take a deep breath and look back at everything that's happened in the past four years on the economic front and the impacts of these events on our businesses, families, friends and neighbors, it is still hard to comprehend. 60 Minutes ran a story on November 27 about first time homeless families in central Florida, living out of their cars. This story was sobering to say the least, and yet those interviewed inspired viewers by being grateful that they were able to keep their families together while homeless. There are similar stories all over the country.
As we reflect on the impacts of our economic crisis on so many working class folks, we are also in awe of those organizations and businesses that have managed to survive so far. Many not for profits have been greatly impacted as the demands for their services spike, and their funding sources struggle for their own survival.
In partnership with the United Way of Franklin County, we recently provided a workshop on "leading change in chaotic times" for leaders of participating agencies. The commitment and determination these leaders bring to their respective missions, under the most challenging of circumstances, is utterly amazing.
We began the United Way workshop stating the obvious. "You're Still Here." While many other businesses and not for profit agencies have disappeared under extreme economic pressures, somehow "You're Still Here." And, that means you must be doing many things well and right to have survived so far.
"Still Here" is an awesome accomplishment in these dire times. But, it isn't enough. How do we move from Here to There? How do we jump start our businesses and organizations? How do we assure that our next three years are our best three years?
We all know that it takes planning to move from where we are to where we want to be. We need a business plan and we need a personal plan. While things may not go completely as we plan, a good planning process helps us leverage our strengths and shore up our vulnerabilities. It helps us choose our destiny, rather than continuously being victimized by circumstances. If you are "still here" and ready to move to a better "there," take a little time out to make a great plan, one that literally pulls you into a future of your choosing.