No one knows when the meltdown is going to end. I am predicting 24 months. My guess is as good as anyone else's. However, after studying successful people for 30+ years, I do feel I have insight into the approaches of those who will survive and prosper during and after the meltdown. Here are four of my top ten (more to follow):
1. Yesterday is yesterday's news ... whatever your business was may no longer be relevant. The world is changing amazingly quickly. Major institutions that existed for more than one hundred years have failed or are failing. Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers. Circuit City and Linens and Things. The United States automobile industry. Established communications products: newspapers and magazines are dying, DVD's aren't selling, network TV is losing viewers in droves. And so on.
Those who survive and prosper understand that yesterday is irrelevant. The question we all need to be asking is: What should I do with my career or business today to make it a desirable commodity for tomorrow?
Charles Darwin said that it is not the strongest who survive. Not even the most intelligent. It is "the most adaptable." Those people who are able to move on quickly, forget the past and look for opportunities in the future, will survive and prosper.
2. No ego ... those who survive and prosper in the coming years cannot have an ego. Those who are not willing to do ____ because they are 50 years old, or a former banker, or used to make $X ... get over yourselves. The game now is economic survival and those who are willing to do whatever it takes to make a living will, in my judgment, be those who are most likely to prosper going forward.
3. Information gluttony ... I believe that those who are most willing to invest the time to learn increase their prospect for prosperity. Whatever your background, career or business, do whatever you can to acquire information about trends, protocols, people and ideas that may help you. Read and network. Read and network. The information is out there for you to find a path from where you are to where you want to be. In other words, for each of us there is a map that can take us from difficulty to survival to prosperity. The map however is hidden behind lots and lots of irrelevant material and noise. The more time you invest in learning about your business, career or aspiration, the greater the prospect for future success.
4. There will be a tomorrow ... those who ignore the most basic principles of customer service, added value and decency - in order to make money today - will be left behind sooner rather than later. Many of us are struggling to make ends meet right now. During this stress there is a human tendency to cut corners, to operate under the table and to ignore that most basic ethos of all careers and businesses - give people good value for your product or service and you will do fine. Those who play today as if there is no tomorrow will fall by the wayside very quickly.
Jim Randel is the founder and co-author of the Skinny On: series. His most recent book The Skinny On Credit Cards: How to Win the Credit Card Game is available at www.JimRandel.com