Does it feel like whiplash sometimes switching from thinking short term then long term, then short and then long? Ai yai yai! This economy is crazy making. How do you manage your thinking and your response?

Many of our leading indicator companies who make packaging or the components others use to manufacture their products have had a slow first quarter. The weather has been particularly bad which often impacts January and February sales. Their customers say they are overstocked with products ordered when lead times were long and uncertain.  While the second quarter is slightly better, sales have not jumped back this year. Smart folks are tightening their belts and redrawing their forecasts. Whether we go into a recession or just slow to the edge of one, this is a time to conserve cash and focus on profitability.

At the same time, looking out 1 -3 years, it is clear that investing in new technology and new ways of thinking is a must. I would suggest you take a deep dive into 2 areas of process improvement.

Time spent now in understanding the role of Artificial Intelligence(AI) and Augmented Reality (AR) is like taking French 1 – a beginning but necessary course if you want to learn the language. You won’t be able to hold a decent conversation, but you may be able to find your way to the loo. Companies that have been working on the first wave have made it possible for us to learn faster and utilize their tools for ourselves. They are teaching us French, but we have to be willing to learn and try speaking it ourselves.

The integration of data analytics and automated business processes is also speeding ahead.  In Vistage we’ve been implementing Asana, Jira and other project management tools for tracking collaborative work projects. Many companies have made it the backbone of their tracking systems. Automation and tracking will drive future profitability.

This is work on process how we get to duplicatable results.  It takes a lot of elbow grease by a lot of people, working together. There is no magic here. Just focus on 2-3 things that will grow the business in the long term.

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