Up from the rubble: What it takes to be the Phoenix


Recently, I gave a talk on the subject of finding opportunity from this recession. 

History is dotted with stories about companies that leapfrogged their competitors immediately after a major recession.  Kellogg did it to Post during the Great Depression.  Nokia did it to Motorola after the ’91 crisis.  Google did it to Yahoo after the dotcom crash.  Ditto for Apple vs Sony in the audio consumer space during the same period. 

How did they do it?  Leadership style, focus and values.  In short, here’s the six ingredients for capturing the opportunity that the current economic meltdown offers the bold and creative: 

1.  Leadership balances reality with hope – They are practical, but foster a positive mood state which creates a good backdrop for innovation. 

2. User experience is the unifying purpose that the entire company rallies around. 

3. Leadership cultivates a deep sense of self-team and industry confidence. 

4. Leadership cultivates a culture of execution.  Non promise keepers are excised out of the organization in favor of people that finish what they start.

5. Phoenix companies are interdependent with their partners and customers.  It is a win/win/win arrangement where one’s success grows the pie for all parties. 

6. Phoenix companies are efficient in communications and operations.  There is little duplication and even less misunderstanding.