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Are You a Consumer No-Confidence Statistic?

Change is nothing more than 'a road map to a new and better destination.' Got your bags packed?

According to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll conducted June 12-16, 76 percent of those contacted believe America is on the wrong track. Let’s see, why would that be? Gas and food prices, deteriorating housing values, and “unending war,” according to AP writer Tom Raum, are at the top of most lists.

Eric Canton

We’re apparently as pessimistic as we’ve been in 30 years, too, and feeling more so each day. All you need now is to be fired. California has just reported that May’s unemployment rate rose to 6.8 percent, the fifth highest in the nation.

We are reminded, “The last time consumers were this miserable, in May 1980, the jobless rate was 7.5 percent and inflation was 14.4 percent. Now those numbers are 5.5 percent and 4.2 percent respectively,” notes the Washington Post’s Neil Irwin.

So my question is this: Are you a consumer no-confidence statistic? Are you pretty much out of ideas to improve your lot — especially if you fear for your job or have already lost it?

Business consultant Rick Johnson takes on Change Management for organizations in his recent e-mail from www.ceostrategist.com. The economic downturn requires every company to take steps to survive and then to thrive when the cycle changes.

He advises that change is nothing more than, “a road map to a new and better destination.” Advice to organization leadership responsible for managing change is (abridged version):

1. Anticipate and prepare for resistance.

2. Don’t succumb to the temptation to write off resisters as being obstinate or trouble makers.

3. Involve as many employees as early as possible in the change process.

4. Allow employees to whine. Listen without being judgmental.

5.  Roll up your sleeves and make sure the management team does also.

6.  Make sure you have the right personnel and adequate resource to execute and manage the change.

7.  Create a culture of coaching and mentoring for your management team.

Now look at the changes you face from your perspective, the changes you have to manage in yourself:

1. Recognize a time of mourning for the past — the status quo, let it happen and prepare your mind for the discoveries and opportunities ahead.

2. Let the frustrations spill out, but remember it was a job and didn’t and doesn’t define you as a person of worth.

3. Your resistance will only lengthen the time it takes you to get on with it.

4. Let your family or others close to you in on what you’re feeling. They’ll support you if you let them.

5. Role up your own sleeves. You are a management team of one now.

6. Search out networks of people experiencing similar challenges in your community, your industry, your church, synagogue or temple. They’re your new resources to help you to manage change.

7. Seek out organizations and individuals who will help you to prepare for your future by guiding you in your investigation of what industries and what organizations really attract you. They often can assist you in preparation of your marketing materials and interviewing skills as well.

You face competition in your quest for a new career always — particularly in a down economy. The more time you spend preparing for it and the more you increase your confidence in yourself through study and practice, the quicker you will get what you work to achieve.

A friend and client of mine did exactly what was needed and landed a senior management position in an industry that excites him and in a company that embraces the culture of enthusiasm that makes such a difference. He was deliberate and focused in his pursuit. He is a lesson in hope, work and success for us all.

Eric Canton is president of Career BreakThrough! Inc.

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