Did you know there is an economic recovery happening all over the world? It’s hard to tell some days. As I wrote in Who Are You Supposed to Believe? perception is created by biases in our thinking. This is not a matter of being right or wrong. It really is a matter of managing how you make decisions and act on your perceptions.Perception and Perspective

We act on our beliefs all the time. We have certain lenses with which we see the world. With all of the stories about the national and global economies, it seemed natural (my perception, of course) to take the topic to the #kaizenblog folks. You can read the transcript Transcript for #kaizenblog – PerceptionKeepingYouFromEconRecovery

With Henry Ford lurking in the back of our minds (thanks to my friend, John), Valeria Maltoni(founder and co-host of the Twitter chat #kaizenblog) and I opened the conversation with the first question, Do you look at the economic indicators? There were mixed answers to this question with a “yes but” kind of reaction. It seems that most people look at the economic indicators but there were references to how there has been so much contradicting reports and analyses as well as they don’t fit the size of the business or they were just too crazy-making. Stephen Denny (@Note_To_CMO) added a dose of humour to this when he tweeted, “No. Like talking to my mother, looking at econ indicators is only something you do once in a while for sanity’s sake.” Meg Fowler (@megfowler) added this bit of wisdom ( which sounds really good advice for those who have to keep track of the economic indicators as part of their work), “You can be AWARE of something without being controlled by it. Knowledge is power.”

It seemed to make sense to go a little further with this question as our participants are all over the business spectrum from small businesses all the way up to major corporations. Are big companies more susceptible to economic shifts vs small business? Does it affect you? It seemed likely that our perceptions could be more influenced by our environment.

  • John Reddish (@GetResults) “Broad indicators are not always applicable to sm biz – niches, locales, often perform differently”
  • Stephen Denny “Yes, big co’s (by virtue of big-ness) feel macro trends broadly. Small co’s affected by local/niche”
  • Media Collective (@MediaCollective) “Typically sm businesses are more nimble and can adjust more quickly to market”

It certainly seemed logical that variables such as niches, locales, and size matter in how our businesses are affected by the economy as a whole. Tom Asacker (@tomasacker) brought in the importance of the taking a holistic perspective when he tweeted, “Macroeconomic trends important as they relate to cultural trends and subsequent market decision-making.” However, it was interesting to see how #kaizenblog participants returned to the theme of how perceptions affect performance.

  • Frederique Murphy (@IrishSmiley) “whether big or small, we control our own actions and results, so it really does affect us all in some way”
  • Cathy Larkin PR (@CathyWebSavvyPR) “For solopreneurs – econ indicators are too Macro.They seem true when biz pickup/slows down”
  • Meg Fowler “If you regularly use the economy as an excuse, you’re looking for limits more than opportunities.”

With perception, performance, and the acknowledgement that different businesses are responding to the economic recovery in a number of ways, it was time to parse apart how corporations versus small businesses are focusing their attention. Some say focus on your business versus the national financial news. Wise or unwise?

  • Mary Ann Halford (@MaryAnnHalford) “Focus must always be on your business – Nat’l economy is just a factor to respond to – not react to”
  • ‘Bahadur’ Sridhar (@AntarYaami) “Wise would be to keep the focus on the biz but keep spare eye on nat’l financial info too.”
  • Thomas Kuplic (@tbkuplic) “Sadly many hunker down and try to weather it. Hard to lean into wind in tough times.”
  • Amber Cleveland (@ambercleveland) “Always focus on your assets/your biz source positively for them…”
  • EJ Ellis (@EJEllisTweets) “Focus on your biz, but keep track of nat’l news. Can’t discount influence of econ news on others.”

A constant theme throughout the conversation was the idea of positive thinking. To bring it into the conversation more consciously, we asked, Do you find a positive outlook creates more opportunity? As Amy Blake (@BlakeGroup) pointed out with her example, bad economic times can come at any point. She explained, “1 of my worst days was when biggest client announced merger. Saw it in paper -no advanced info. Started looking for more clients!”

  • Mary Ann Halford “A3 positive attitude always makes a difference – it’s not what happens to you but how you respond to it.”
  • Stephen Denny “Pragmatic outlook improves opportunity. Always being open to alliances/opp’s/different structures helps”
  • Lois Martin “A3 Positive attitude definitely helps you spot new opportunities, see things in perspective. You do not react, you RESPOND.”
  • Tom Asacker “Positive outlook is fine, but need to experience pain WITH customers. Anger with status quo drives change/innovation.”
  • John Sternal (@SternalPR) “A3 Also helps to surround yourself with positive ppl, which can open up critical opps.”
  • John Reddish “Positive doesn’t mean Pollyanna!”

Frederique Murphy probably summed it up best, “Being positive/negative does not mean we don’t get negative things happening, but  it does mean we are taking charge.”

For our last question, we decided to find out what plans the #kaizenblog folks had. How are you planning the next 12 months? We got a variety of answers that included hiring or using coaches, accountability partners, diversification, focusing on customer experience, referrals, looking for what others may miss, networking, and staying flexible. As often happens in these conversations, there is so much good information and wisdom embedded in the chat that I can’t fit it all in the recap. There was a wonderful conversation about how sailing is a great metaphor for handling adversity as well as how managing your emotions is a valuable business tool.

Valeria Maltoni issued an interesting challenge towards the end of the conversation when she suggested we share examples of expansive thinking. What are your examples?

What are you planning for the next 12 months?

How can the #kaizenblog community help you?