It is becoming apparent that this economic situation is here to stay for a few years - not the typical year or so. I think we are all becoming clearer that new rules are being created and those of us that figure out how to adapt and change will be those mostly likely to be standing in 2011.
Accepting this reality is tough for an organization that has a history of doing business one way, has a strong track record and has produced effective results. I find that the organizations are having a tough time accepting the concept that times have changed and as a result the organization has to figure out how to adapt and manage itself differently. We all need some new tools that will assist us as individuals and the organizations we lead to navigate through these times. I know that strategy, reflection, new alliances and managing with fewer resources are now required.
I often hear entrepreneurs say I had this vision and we were working towards it and this crisis came along. They say they do not know if they should put aside the vision, leave the organization, or try to continue on with the same vision. I see first hand entrepreneurs struggle with the loss of their "path" and the resulting confusion and angst this creates personally.
CNN Money had an interesting article about four companies and how they started planning differently - rather than report the bad news, they have begun to systematically retool their companies to respond to the new economic realities. I am sure more will follow. The nonprofit world has no such compelling stories - yet.
It seems that some redefining of the vision will be needed. In some cases it will take longer for the vision to be achieved and in other cases, new definitions for growth, performance, return on investment and achievement will be needed.
As to the new tools - scenario planning, sustainability planning, results based strategic plans and improved business practices are being used by organizations trying to define their new realities. Even newer tools like strategic alliances and mergers are being created to extend resources and mission related activities.