Request Meeting


For your edification and entertainment.

Leadership in the Era of Economic Uncertainty: The New Rules for Getting the Right Things Done in Difficult Times

Strategies from the Book and from Vistage CEOs
By Gail Schaper-Gordon, Ph.D.

In his concise, accessible book, published in 2009, Ram Charan noted: “We will not know when we have turned the corner, and we cannot envision the shape and scope of the world that will emerge. What we can be sure of is that this is a time of tumultuous change, and with change come both danger and opportunity.”

In the past two years working with my Vistage CEO Group members and consulting clients, I have witnessed mostly the dangers that they have faced. Nevertheless, opportunities are now beginning to take shape for the survivors. (I find it interesting that Charan describes the end of the economic downturn as our having “turned the corner,” in juxtaposition with Robert Bloom’s recommendation for us to “look around the corner.”)

My Vistage members have worked with each other to come up with strategies and tactics to manage the challenges that they have faced. Interestingly, they’ve applied many of the same practical actions presented by Charan:

  • Protect cash flow vigilantly, even daily, and use cash more efficiently.
  • Use ground intelligence to survive the storm and position your business to thrive in the aftermath.
  • Develop a better understanding of your customers.
  • Re-evaluate your pricing strategy and capital expenditures.
  • Cut costs strategically.

In order to accomplish these very time-consuming strategies, my Vistage members have had to become more hands-on executives. They had to adopt a much more focused grasp of reality and become more in charge of the basic operations of their companies. They have had to focus more intensely on their role as chief executive of their companies. All of this has left them little time to think more than a few months ahead. I am sure that many of you reading this have had the same experience.

In order to see and take advantage of the opportunities, all of us must begin to find new ways to look ahead and “around the corner.” It’s not likely that you will wake up one morning with an epiphany that’s an innovative approach to your entire business. Instead, the shift will require allocating a significant amount of time where you are:

  • Away from your day-to-day environment.
  • Operating outside of your usual routines and habits.
  • Exposed to new information and ideas.
  • Thinking and talking freely.
  • Challenged and questioned by people engaged in the process with you.
  • Employing a method by which information and ideas are captured without interrupting the dialogue and brainstorming process.

Here are some suggestions for how to do this:

  • Join a Vistage group or the like (although no other is truly like Vistage).
  • Work with a consultant who will take you and your team through an experiential planning process like those conducted by Win-Win.
  • Attend a national conference for your industry with a group of people from your company or region, and conduct brainstorming sessions every day after the meetings.
  • Form a “mastermind group” that meets regularly.

Newsletter signup

For your edification and entertainment!

Gail will keep you inspired with entertaining news articles and local event announcements every month so don’t miss out and sign up today!


Gail has been helping leaders grow their businesses and achieve their goals for more than two decades, one business at a time.

Find out how Gail can help you!


Read all News >>

Meeting Request

Request a meeting with Gail Schaper-Gordon to see what options are best for you

First Name:*

Last Name:*


Job Title:








Newsletter Signup

Gail will keep you inspired with entertaining news articles and local event announcements every month so don’t miss out and sign up today!