Someone forwarded a statement made by GE CEO Jeff Immelt at the Business for Social Responsibility Conference in early November 2008:

“The economic crisis that we’re going in right now doesn’t represent the cycle. It represents a reset. And I think people that understand that will prosper in the future, and people that don’t understand that will (I think) get left behind. The era of transparency, accountability for corporations, responsibility is profoundly different today versus where it was even six months ago . . . I think when we come out of this fog this notion that companies need to stand for something and need to be accountable for more than just the money that they earn is going to be profound.”

He went on to talk about people being afraid and the importance of leaders to help shape fear into self-confidence.

Very true words.

So what do you do to get through the reset as strongly and innovatively as possible? Three suggestions:

1. Although some things have diverted from the expected path, determine what important fundamentals are still in place from which to move forward.

2. Imagine the range of relevant possibilities that may yet unfold. Amid what may be presented as tremendous uncertainty, look for common elements among the possibilities. Figure out actions you can take that make sense irrespective of which scenario plays out.

3. Identify what everyone else is doing in reaction to short-term swings and irrelevant possibilities. Then dig deep (maybe pray hard) for the fortitude, wherewithal, and mental composure to move forward relative to the long-line with your sights focused beyond the “fog.”

That’s my strategy.

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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