Published December 12, 2014

It is all over the news that the Dow plunged more than 300 points today, as the sustained drop in crude oil spurred on growth concerns. Yet last week we had news of the highest job growth in 15 years. The bottom line is that volatility is the new normal. How prepared are you and your business for volatility?

Pre-recession, a 100 point drop in the Dow would have spurred on more news than today’s 300 point drop as volatility has become expected. This is true in business as well. For example, one of my clients said that they can have a dramatic increase in orders on Monday morning based on a promotion run on their e-commerce site over the weekend. This is not uncommon. Thus, the key to thriving is to be prepared, resiliant, agile and flexible. Do you have people, processes and systems in place to leverage as needed?

One tip to implement this week:
Start with one area of your business or your responsibility – ideally start with one of the most important areas to achieving your strategy and goals. No reason to take on more than you can do successfully as you’ll move 1000 items forward by a quarter inch (if you are lucky enough not to move backwards in several areas) vs. moving your most important area forward by a mile.

Think about how you can be flexible and agile as volatility occurs. It could be great or horrible; either can turn sour if you are not prepared. Build flexibility into your plans. It will not happen by default. Cross-train your high-skilled resources. Utilize temps and contractors for short-term needs. Think about backup suppliers etc. You don’t have to have all the answers. Gather your team to think about how to build flexibility in your business.