Contrarian View: Recession Reconsiderations

7 08 2009

bigstockphoto_Handshake_with_Money_Sign_820521Back in March ’09 I wrote this for amusement. Now with the current data I’ve been asked to reprint here. (I wish all my predictions looked like this . . . note to self: reread chapter on luck in High Altitude Leadership).

In more than one city some CEOs feel differently about the recession. Being as pessimistic as everyone, I first thought it was an anomaly.  But are there hints of success leaking into our pessimism?

I’m on several boards. At one meeting a CEO asked other members if they were feeling the trauma of the recession. Of course the CEOs related to the finance or real estate industries were hurting, but others shyly admitted they were actually doing OK. They had made some adjustments in hiring levels and programs but nothing tragic.

Then, recently when speaking to an audience in the Pacific Northwest I heard CEOs talking about when they should start spending again. They had plenty of cash! But are waiting for a green-light.

Speaking in other cities a mortgage broker reported having applications surge from 4 applicants/month to 8/ week!

Finally – gulp – my wife,  in a family business called Ron Zimmerman Realtor, now runs into multiple bids on properties she’s securing for investors.

What? I expected to hear these stories 2nd half 2010. Not now. Maybe there’s more trauma ahead, especially as we bail out and bonus the incompetent. But what if people start spending cash earlier? What if the fear stopped faster than predicted?





When Speed Exceeds Order

24 12 2008

Our holiday part was last night. I threatened to clean by office over the holidays. Bonnie, one of our staff on the marketing team, looks over and says, “I’ve never seen you desk.” She’s been with us for almost a year. I thought: OMG, what could be lurking there? Read the rest of this entry »





The Danger of Innovation

29 09 2008

Met with Eileen, our Managing Director, today. I was sharing a response I got from a CEO in the workshop last Friday for Vistage. He said our Beliefs model (he heard me present a couple years ago) transformed his company. Then he went on about how he applied it to take accountability to new levels. Then it hit me! OMG, a “Bart Simpson” moment! Why don’t we do that!!! Read the rest of this entry »





Free Market Failure? A view before the dust settles

29 09 2008

Was lying on my back in an orthodontist chair today . . .

OK, what’s a 50 year old guy doing at an orthodontist? Trying to avoid a jaw operation later. Dentist found out my jaw’s not setting properly and causing teeth problems. Choice – jaw operation later or braces now. Bummer. New book release this fall and I need braces. Apparently I’m not alone. Significant part of this guy’s business is adults! Where was I …. Read the rest of this entry »





Original Sin, Again: Leaving the Microsoft Garden

28 09 2008

In front of 75 executives in Philly yesterday showing a 5 minute video. It crashed 4 minutes into it. Big Microsoft error window pops up saying that MediaPlayer had stopped working. Froze up everything – keyboard, control-alt-delete, video controls, mouse, etc. All I could say to the audience is “we’re filming an Apple commercial.” They laughed, and understood. Read the rest of this entry »





Seduction of Chocolate, and Tools

27 09 2008

In the new book, High Altitude Leadership, that I wrote with Chris Warner, we discuss the danger of tool-seduction. Chris is one of the top climbers in the world and, as founder of Earth Treks, quite a successful businessman. He’s clear about what happens when climbers get too seduced by their tools. In their overconfidence they end up stranded at altitude. But as I read about what’s happening with Hershey, I wonder why it’s so hard to see the same effect in companies. The BBC said that “Swiss-based Nestle has escalated its assault on the US market by offering $11.5bn (£7.5bn) for chocolate giant Hershey Foods”. What happened? Read the rest of this entry »





Communism Rescues Capitalism!?

27 09 2008

I was flying back to Washington, DC this week as the US governement worked overtime on a financial-Prozac remedy to stop the another U.S. Depression. In between the power-down and cells-on phase of flying I don’t have a lot to do but read and think. Probably the most innovative part of the flight for me. This time an insane ides hit me: Communism is now highly interested in bailing out the Capitalists. Wha??? They don’t want to bury us? Read the rest of this entry »