In the previous article “How Can You Prepare for a Recession,” we addressed the importance of taking the upcoming recession 2020 very seriously. As a leader, whatever you can do to protect your family, current clients, your organization, and your job, you must do it. In this article, we look at what is the role of a leader in a recession.
A leader does not kick back in a crisis. And certainly, a leader does not give up or hope that things will work out somehow. A leader intends to use a crisis to change the trajectory of their family, career, department, and organization. They use it as a time to show “what they’re made of.”
Changing jobs in this market is very hard. If you are here on an H1B visa (permits a foreign national to work in the United States for a temporary period) or something like this, if we were in your place we would not be trying to change jobs now. You going to have a lot of problems. Instead, do what you can to not get fired/laid off.
If you are someone who is looking for a job, you have got to reach out to your network now before they are inundated with requests when everyone else is unemployed.
Move fast. Reach out to your network. Finish your resume. Finish your cover letter. If you are a Premium member or an FC Insider use our The Consulting Offer series to help you maximize the effectiveness of your resume.
And, if you are not a member, our How to edit a resume article and related video will be helpful for you to start the process of updating your resume.
You can view an example of a good resume below. If you are a Premium member you can watch Alice being trained by Kevin P. Coyne, former McKinsey partner, and former McKinsey worldwide strategy practice co-leader. You will also see Alice getting an offer from McKinsey NYC and BCG NYC at the end of The Consulting Offer II season.
Regardless, if you are planning to change jobs or not during a recession, focus on investing in yourself to increase your earning potential and the value of your work.
If you are a consultant, pick the clients you going to protect. Some of them, they never going to hire you and that’s ok. Some of them want to hire you but they don’t know you have the skills they need to solve their most pressing problems.
If you are willing to take some pain, no strings attached, clients will be more willing to talk to you. For example, you can offer to be compensated based on results. At a minimum, you will likely be able to build a stronger relationship with a client that can later lead to paid work. If things turn out well, this can lead to some solid revenue at the time when your firm really needs it, and client referrals.
Sometimes you have to leave an important client. You may make a strategic decision to withdraw from a client. For example, for a variety of reasons the leadership team may not respect you. Rather than spend a lot of time trying to win them over, you can invest that time in client relationships which are likely to result in revenue for your firm.
In terms of skills development, you can go for practical skills or for theoretical skills. Theoretical skills are also known as a degree.
We, at FIRMSconsulting, focus on practical skills. Many of our programs on StrategyTraining.com/Apps and StrategyTV.com/Apps teach skills to fix a very closely defined problem like learning how to solve a quantitative problem, learning how to map and frame an issue or learning how to develop a strong relationship with clients.
You get very quick results, lower cost and higher returns over compressed times. Companies want this. Companies don’t need people with degrees now unless they can fix specific problems.
But, why are these skills so hard to learn?
Because it is compressed you have to show results quickly. That’s the tradeoff. If you tell someone you can do X you have to be able to do X and get a result. Which is why people tend to go for theoretical skills. They go to a nice MBA program. They get hired because they went to a nice MBA program and it’s going to take a long time for them to show whether it’s worth it because they are not measured on a discrete bite-sized project.
So you have got to decide, are you going for practical skills or theoretical skills? If you go for theoretical skills, a degree, it is expensive. There is a long payback. Sometimes there is no payback. It is essentially a 4-year game for most people. You have to apply during this year (some people take longer to apply), 2 years to study and one year to reap some rewards.
It works for 20 percent of the people. Those are 20 percent you hear about. The other 80 percent just meander. They are worse off than those who learned practical skills. And they are probably never going to get the return on investment they wanted.
What is the reason you may want to consider an MBA during the recession of 2020? One, it allows you to stay in the country. And two, depending on where you study, whether it is Canada or Australia, it may lead to residency.
Now, I want to talk about a part that many people probably don’t want to talk about. That is considering leaving the United States. For many of you, in this time, whether you want to or not, leaving the United States has to be an option you give enough consideration.
The reality is that we are going through a global pandemic right now. There are not many jobs anywhere. So if you are leaving to find a job elsewhere it is possible you will get something good but maybe you will get something worse. Yet, maybe you just have no choice. If you leave, you most likely going to leave for family reasons, or visa reasons or trying to cut costs.
We always tells clients if you leave the United States it is almost impossible to come back. If you make this move you have got to know that your life plan is going to change quite dramatically. If you go it is most likely permanent. We always tell clients one area where you have to get ahead of things is your residency and visa status. If you want to stay here and your only route is to study or get a job it is going to be very hard to get a job now. Studying may be the best route. But that is a big commitment you need to make.
For many people, it is beneficial to apply for Australian or Canadian PR now. It is fast. It is points-based. Study leads to residency. If I was in a situation where my residency was not sorted out, I would do it now. I would not think, just do it. It would give me an option.
I am going to leave you with some important points. If you are part of the FC community, and especially if you are an FC Insider, you are a leader. And leaders rise in a moment of crisis. We understand our role, we understand our purpose in the world, we understand what we have to do. This is what we were trained to do.
If you feel you are lost, if you feel you are scared, look… everyone is scared.
You got to distinguish between knowing how you feel and knowing what you want to show other people. Because while you may be scared other people are dependent on you, their leader, to show them a level of confidence and calmness. Otherwise, it is just a ripple effect and a viral effect of uncertainty and anxiousness. Well, maybe viral is not the right word to use right now…
Yes, things are going to get very bad, very fast. You will be affected. You may lose your job. To a large degree it is going to happen to a lot of people, not everyone. Or at least you going to have some financial shock. But, as a member of the FC community and especially if you are an FC Insider, you are prepared for it. Where there are some suboptimal opportunities you going to put things aside and focus on saving your family, your business, your clients, and your employer.
Because you know, common sense will tell you, we are going to get through this. So no matter how bad it looks, no matter what newspapers tell you, and newspapers will tell you anything they need to sell a newspaper, know that we are not going back to the Middle Ages. You will know that. As a good leader, you will keep everyone calm and move through.
You know your life, your career plan, your skills will have to change. And that is normal. What you see is compression of that time when you realize you need to change and you accept it. You will plan for that change. You not going to hope it does not change because hope is not a strategy. As a good leader, you will embrace and you will lean in.
You not going to fight it. Because by the time you pivot after fighting it it may be too late.
The most important thing to remember is that these are the moments when you can change the trajectory of your life. If you are stuck in your career, if you are stuck in your life, if you are stuck in a bad relationship, if you are stuck in something that you don’t want to be stuck in, 10 years from now, 20 years from now when you look back at this moment you will realize that this is the time you could have made major changes in your life. A good leader never lets a crisis go to waste.
So use this crisis to make a major change. As a member of the FC community, and especially if you are an FC Insider, you know the role you play. You have been called up to the major leagues now. You have got to take the call and do what you were trained to do.
Are you going to mess up?
Yes. Everyone messes up.
But that is fine. In life you know you will mess up, you step back, you rethink things and you move forward. But what you should not do is be too hard on yourself.
You are not going to know everything you need to do. But if you are a FIRMSconsulting member, especially FC Insider, you have all the training. We have given it to you. If you don’t know something just go look it up. But right now its about you helping others because that is what a good leader does in a crisis.
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