When looking at the following list of highly successful and influential companies, what do each of them have in common?

  • General Electric (Launch: 1892, 2019 Revenue: 2019 Revenue: $95.2 billion)
  • General Motors (Launch: 1908, $137.2 billion)
  • IBM (Launch: 1911, 2019 Revenue: $77.1 billion)
  • Hewlett-Packard (Launch: 1939, 2019 Revenue: $58.8 billion)
  • Hyatt Hotel (Launch: 1957, 2019 Revenue: $5 billion)
  • Trader Joe’s (Launch: 1958, 2019 Revenue: $13.3 billion)
  • FedEx (Launch: Launch: 1971, 2019 Revenue: $65.5 billion)
  • Microsoft (Launch 1975, 2019 Revenue: $125.8 billion)
  • Electronic Arts (Launch: 1982, 2019 Revenue: $4.5 billion)

(Honorable mentions: Tollhouse Cookies, Burger King, CNN, Mailchimp, Uber, Airbnb, Square, Groupon, Venmo, Salesforce, Google, Facebook)

Each of these companies was born out of recessions.

Why is this important? These are uncertain times. Executives face a set of unknowns as a result of a pandemic last experienced to this extent in the early nineteen-hundreds. Attempting to innovate within an established company might appear to be a losing bet under the current circumstances. Yet, while others are dissuaded by the uncertainty facing the world, hoping things will normalize, there will be more opportunity than ever to innovate and deliver real value. The list of companies above is a proven testament to that fact.

“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” – Dale Carnegie

If the genesis of an idea exists and it has the ability to make a difference, don’t assume that it must be shelved until there is an economic rebound. On the contrary, this might be the perfect time to act. Without question, there will be resistance and difficulty.

In times like these, leaders, more than ever, need to make better decisions, operate more efficiently and act swiftly. In more favorable market conditions, it is easier to stick to what has been working. Now that what has been working has been compromised, use that as the catalyst for positive change. To take on that mindset, step out of operating within survival mode and look toward what possibilities might emerge while considering a bold, inspiring future for the organization. By utilizing disruption as opportunity, companies will need to remap processes and accountabilities. Leveraging the newly designed future gives the organization the map and leverage needed to change.

Bold ideas are born every day in every country. Don’t let considerations – the fear of failure, uncertain market conditions, a lack of resources, and beyond – inhibit the call to action.


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