There’s reason to come out of the bunker

Two recent presentations I attended made me think how a simple change in attitude can make a big difference during these trying times.

There’s a pervasive bunker mentality sweeping America. Hunkering down is all too easy when the news seems mostly bad. We want to hold tightly to our money, our jobs and our families until the storm passes.

Hardly anyone scoffed at Punxsutawney Phil on Groundhog Day. We’ve come to expect more of the same.

But James Glassman, a senior economist from JPMorgan Chase, helped me see the light. During OSCPA’s Corporate CPAs Conference, Glassman told members that yes, we are experiencing unprecedented times in our country’s economy. But the system is not totally broken. Problems are being solved one day at a time and he predicts the beginning of a recovery later this year. OSCPA members can logon and listen to Glassman’s presentation here.

A bigger problem is the American psyche.

Glassman notes it’s common for people to retreat into a psychological funk when a downturn follows a period of rapid growth. This makes us our own worst enemy.

When in a funk, we don’t think as clearly, have as much energy and we’re not as proactive about capitalizing on our own strengths and those of the organizations we lead.

Glassman’s advice? Businesses and leaders who act and think like winners will come out of this as winners.

So what does acting like a winner look like?

Be the solution. Things are nowhere near as bad as they were in the 1930s.Look for creative solutions to build your business and reduce risk. There are great resources everywhere to help you. Just last week, President Obama announced a new federal program to aid small businesses affected by the credit crunch. There are some key takeaways from this Wharton School post on Disruptive Innovation. Put resources like these to work along with a positive vision of what you want your company or your career to look like a year from now.

Make it easy for your clients and customers to do business with you. Sometimes we’re so caught up in the big problems, we forget the basics. Don’t. Mike Campbell, CPA, reminds you why that’s never been more important with this recent experience. Be available for clients but also show your human side, Rick Telberg advises CPAs in A Crisis is a Terrible Thing to Waste.

Invest in yourself. Everyone is trying to cut costs. But don’t cut yourself short. Keep your skills and your network intact. Go to seminars, meet new people and get a fresh perspective. Try Bob Littell’s NetWeaving approach which is simply sharing your knowledge and your resources without expecting anything in return. OSCPA members can logon to hear Bob’s presentation here.

Pay it forward. Use your time and talent to help others who are struggling. CPAs are just as busy this year as every other tax season, but we’ve had more volunteers taking part in OSCPA consumer tax call-ins than in the past. Why? It feels good to make a difference in someone else’s life. Identify a real need you can fill and give back. Volunteer in your community or in your professional organization.

The ultimate answer to what ails our country may be far down the road. But let’s take the first steps to move ourselves in the right direction.

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One Response to There’s reason to come out of the bunker

  1. We recently hired a consultant who said many employees are “hunkered down”. That was the first I’d heard the phrase. She was referring to persons staying with their current employer as opposed to staying home as the ABC article focused on. So your blog really caught my attention and not just because you kindly linked to my blog.

    You hit the nail on the head. I believe there is a ton of opportunity right now and that will increase as we move out of the recession. There are clearly certain industries dying right now, but that just means new ones will emerge. Only those who are “being the solution” will see the new opportunities, act on them, and be greatly prosper from them.

    I have said it before — education, education, education. It cannot be said often enough nor loud enough to invest in oneself. Education is one of the few assets that will survive any economic downturns.

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