December 19, 2009

How has recession changed you?

Recession is almost over.. But, yes, corporate leaders know how bad it was... From riding on a growth wave and managing hyper-growth in some industries to managing no growth (or minimal growth) if not de-growth was quite a task. Wasn't easy - but to adapt and mold was inevitable.

The theme of 'recession' dominated the business world, public sector, non-profit sector and working communities at large; it also was so overtly used in the media that it's become a joke, or supposedly a funny answer to any question related to economy, jobs, or even individual finances. Needless to say - it did leave an impact on everyone’s lives.

After my previous post - Everyone thinks business, I kept thinking o'er the subject and couldn't really help elaborating further on how and what are the other areas that have changed in a common man's life due to recession. Living in my own little world and given my bounded rationality, I am thoroughly convinced that would be a significant change in the mindsets of at least the working folk across the world - thanks to recession.

  • Freeze unnecessary spend, increase savings—The core impact has been on freezing unnecessary spending. With rising incomes in households, India has been witnessing a huge rise in spending—the flocking of many international brands to India holds a testimony to it. The news of recession saw such a panic that people lined-up out of the banks to withdraw their deposits and put a freeze on any spend in anticipation of absolute uncertainty.
  • Longevity in jobs—Recession saw a very peculiar behavior at least in corporate India, where people were reluctant to change jobs, even in industries where attrition rates were the highest. Companies suddenly were posed with a new problem—how to deal with low attrition, when they were looking forward to shed some flab? 
  • New workplace dynamics—workplaces have seen a lot of disruption through the recession period, and there will be new and interesting changes emerging. Moreover, a decade down the line, things will change quite significantly, as the next-level citizens at the workplace will profess higher ambitions, will be more diversity-friendly, cross-culturally adaptable, more networked, demanding flexibility among others.
  • Higher Competitiveness—Given the current experience and the reality of future—everyone has had a taste of ‘survival of the fittest’. This has shaken up almost everyone that competitiveness matters a great deal, both at individual and corporate levels. 
  • Prudence in Risk-taking— Everyone has come to know that excessive credit, multiple-insurances, undue mortgages, defaults on payments had at large formed the foundation for America’s biggest bank failures which set off a chain reaction leading to a total collapse of the economy. This has a great lesson for individuals—to exercise prudence when taking sales calls for a new credit card, personal / home loan or an insurance package; even in terms of shifting jobs, or even changing one’s cell-phone models often. I know of few who’ve started paying off their credit and surrendering their credit cards.
  • Conservatism in vogue— With personal resources feeling a strain it may no more be fashionable to show-off the best of brands without as much utility. Spending & consumption patterns will certainly undergo a change. Than individuals, business corporate is more likely to adapt to this model for long term benefits—because the recession has put to test the strategies of all companies, and only the ones with a long-term conservative strategy have seen the least damage. 
  • More jugaad—resources strained, inflation on rise, and India’s best on jugaad :) there will certainly be a lot of focus on how differently things can be done, and cost factors. Might give a rise to new trends socially and at business level too.

Well, I think I’ve written this longer than what I’d expected :)

But, as I always say and believe—human behavior is very unpredictable, and irrational at times. So, the above trends are just a predictive analysis of mine. As a reader, you may please do add, leave your comments as to what you think about – how has recession changed you?
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