The Great Comeback, Part 3: How to Develop Your Comeback Strategy and Plan

April 24, 2009
If you are a regular reader of this blog or listener to my podcasts (, you know that I have been very vocal during the recession that "cut, cut, cut" is an action and not a strategy, and that I firmly believe strategy ...

If you are a regular reader of this blog or listener to my podcasts (, you know that I have been very vocal during the recession that "cut, cut, cut" is an action and not a strategy, and that I firmly believe strategy must precede action. I have strongly recommended the Recession Strategy of:

* Maintain talent

* Maintain focus on your organizations' strategy

* Cut all other operating and capital expenditures

Although often one of the "other" costs is consulting services, I feel this recession strategy is the correct strategy. I am pleased to say many have successfully followed this strategy and have thanked me for the advice.

Now, I find organizations are flat footed. They have not even thought about recession recovery, let alone the bigger topic of a comeback that includes not only recovery, but also increased market share, growth and prosperity. This excellent article from Business Week, "Getting Ready for the Recovery": Progressive companies will shift to recovery mode before rivals by tracking the key leading indicators and developing a strategic plan" explains how companies should be thinking about recovery in a way that considers the business cycle, but the comeback part of the equation is just as important.

I sincerely believe your organization must upgrade your business processes to be able to claim your portion of the comeback. The steps forward may not seem clear, but I have mapped it out for you.

To be a part of the Great Comeback, I recommend you develop a Comeback Strategy and Plan by pursuing the following five-part process:

Environmental assessment
An assessment of the impacts the following factors are having and will have on your business:

* Global economy
* Domestic economy
* Business cycles
* Consumers
* Investors
* Government involvement

Competitive intelligence
What has your competition done in response to the recession and what are they likely to do going forward? Has your competition hunkered down in the recession or have they raised the competitive bar? Is there any evidence that your competition has developed a comeback strategy or plan?

Comeback expectations
The understanding about your business comeback from the recession from the perspective of both timing and magnitude, given marketplace demand and the response from your competition. Specifically:

* When are your turning points?

* What are your recovery lead time and future volumes?

Organizational analysis
How does your organization compare to others performing the same processes? What process upgrades do you need to deploy in order to not only recover, but to also gain market share, grow and prosper? What are the process upgrades you need to have in place after the recession to enhance customer satisfaction, increase capital efficiency, increase profitability and increase long-term shareholder value?

Define comeback plan
Given the levels of business we anticipate (judging from your comeback expectations) and the required process upgrades (found through your organizational analysis), what is the schedule of process upgrades that needs to occur to allow you to gain market share, grow and prosper?

Just as my confidence was high with my recession strategy, so too is my confidence that the Great Recession is coming to an end. The organizations that best plan their Comeback Strategy and Plan will be the organizations that experience the Great Comeback.

Stay tuned for more on this subject of the Great Comeback, or let me know what you think so far in the comments.

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