Here's what I don't get - why are we giving the very same economists who completely missed this economic cycle the authority, credibility, and expectation that they have any idea when we'll get out of the recession or how. My friend, client, and fellow blogger, Bob Corlett, points out that this time last year, only 2 of Business Week's "esteemed" 54 economists predicted we'd be in a recession. I'd like to point out, additionally, that they made this prediction when (as it turns out from the "recession panel") we were already in the recession.
I'm not complaining that they were wrong (though I'd like to add this to my complaints in college when I was forced to take a class that made no sense - but that's a story for another day). My complaint is that we - yes, you and me - are allowing people who have no compelling history in predicting the future to create the narrative for how we should think. As a financial advisor, I was taught that past performance doesn't indicate future results, and yet, we keep acting like it does.
Look, I admit that I have no idea when or how we're going to get out of this recession. I have my theories - and I'd like to add that my prediction track record is just as good (bad) as the economic prognosticators. I have no control over this recession. I have little control over economic policy or any of the other things that dominate the news today.
- Here's what I do control - my attittude, my behavior, and my actions.
- Here's what I pay attention to - my customers and my market.
- Here's what I know - there is a completely new reality. Of course, there is always a new reality, so the recession isn't really different.
The recipe for success in this environment is the exact same as it is in any market condition:
- Know and understand your customers better than they know and understand themselves.
- Focus on the results you create for your customers.
- Listen to the market - it is always right.
It's time for a new narrative - we control our destiny. The fabulous thing about America is that every day, 300 million people wake up, believe and act in accordance with the belief that they can make their life better. The more we focus on that, the faster we'll get back to a feeling of normalcy (even if it's a new normal) and the better off we'll all be.