Guest Post

Let’s Do It

by Steve McKee
10/01/2009

Consumer confidence dipped once again in September. According to the Conference Board, only one in five people surveyed expect business conditions to improve over the next six months. "While not as pessimistic as earlier this year, consumers remain quite apprehensive about the short-term outlook and their incomes," said Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. "With the holiday season quickly approaching, this is not very encouraging news."

Not very encouraging indeed. So what are we, as business leaders, to do about it? I say we collectively find our nerve.

Sure, business leaders are consumers too, and our confidence (or lack thereof) is reflected in the consumer confidence index. But none of us got to where we are by passively responding to events. We've been active players in shaping circumstances by believing in our visions, staring down risk, and persevering through difficulty. The only thing that's different in the fourth quarter of 2009 is that we're all facing the same challenge at the same time.

And therein lies the key to overcoming our current troubles. The economy isn't a shapeless, faceless, impersonal entity; the economy is us. And if each of us determines that we will right our own ships over the next few months—taking prudent risks, believing in our people and betting on recovery—the future we envision will be self-fulfilling. Then as the new year dawns and the days once again begin to grow longer, we can leave the long winter that was 2009 behind.

I say it's worth a try, and every business leader, author and athlete that will share their thoughts in this space over the next three months agrees. I invite you to bookmark this page and drop in every morning for a new dose of positive reality. It will be a good antidote to the endless drumbeat of bad news that is keeping the other 90 percent of us down.

Steve McKee is the author of When Growth Stalls: How It Happens, Why You're Stuck & What To Do About It, Jossey-Bass, 2009 and is President of McKee Wallwork Cleveland.

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