Smart People, Economic Recovery and Hope

Back to All Posts
May 20, 2010
I am an advocate of continued learning. Take advantage of any opportunity you have to enrich your scope of knowledge.  I mean, how can it hurt to learn more about those things you might not quite understand if you have the chance?  One way I do this is by listening to people much smarter than I am whenever the opportunity presents itself. 

Based on my occupation and obvious interest in Central Indiana jobs and hiring trends, I recently attended the "Racing to the Summit" event sponsored by the Indianapolis Private Industry Council.  The Keynote speaker at the event was Richard Karlgaard, Publisher and Columnist for Forbes magazine.  Richard is also the author of the book Life 2.0.  His presentation was about innovations to save your company and career, but he also provided a very clear and basic overview of the recent recession. I appreciated his delivery about the economy in layman’s terms so that even I (an Econ Major from 20 years ago who has been in HR for my whole career) could understand.  I found it comforting when he made a comparison of the recent recession to the recession of the early 70’s.  This made me feel a little better about our situation, as it reminded me that we have been through this before and we came out of it okay.  Surely we have learned a lot since that time and would again emerge intact, right?

In Richard’s point of view, companies that will do well in the recovery are doing three critical things:

  1. Looking at Technology/innovation differently
  2. Looking at new ways of doing business
  3. Viewing the customer differently

In a word, companies who can see that things are changing will do well, those who continue to do business in the same way will not fare so well.  As key examples, he noted that the following start ups emerged from the ashes of the recession of the early 70’s.  FedEx, Southwest Airlines, Microsoft, Apple, Oracle and Genentech were just a few.

Karlgaard also offered a few key points (among many that he has come up with) that are going to be important for companies (across all industries) to succeed going forward.

  • They will have to be really great at Design (in a product or a service).  This has to be fundamental to the way they work, not just an "add on".
  • Speed.  Putting the right product or service into the customers hands when they really want or need it.  Those who delay will lose.
  • Cost. Where to cut so you don’t cut into your design or your speed.
  • Supply Chain Mastery
  • Sense of Purpose.  Building trust in your institution, having an intact reputation built on purpose and a moral foundation.

This put my mind at ease, as I know we can, as a society, do these things and that we at That’s Good HR can do these things.  The only point that  caused some unease was around Education.  Karlgaard stated what I think we all already know – until and unless we fix our educational systems, we, as a country, will remain behind.  But that is another blog for another day.

So, what does all of this have to do with Indianapolis Staffing or Hiring Trends?  Everything…just like it has everything to do with whatever business you might be in.  So I urge you to go out and find really smart people to listen to and learn from now and then.  You don’t have to agree with them, just listen.  Let me know what you learn.