The Pre(tend)-Post-Mortem

Joel Lazer, CPA, CA, CIRPBlog, Consulting

It is hard to be optimistic about the Canadian economy today.  Reports are negative.  The Canadian dollar is losing value.  Our economy is resource based and resource prices have fallen drastically.  Unemployment is increasing.  Manufacturing will increase to take up some of the slack, but it will take time.  Government stimulus will take place but will not have an immediate impact on the economy.

We wonder:

–          How will the economic downturn impact me?

–          How will the economic downturn impact where I work?

–          How long will the downturn last?

–          What can I do?

Business owners can look at reducing costs.  In the case of labour, to combat short-term gain for long-term pain, consider spreading the pain across many with job sharing as opposed to reducing head count.  Look also at alternative revenue streams.  What are you good at and how can you refocus?  Customer service businesses can refocus the customer service experience.  Consider how long to implement and at what cost.

Employees can make suggestions to owners for how the business can continue to prosper.  Most business owners I know welcome this input.  Employees’ experience the issues from a different perspective than owners and can make positive contributions – things owners might never have seen nor considered.

To decide on a course of action, hold a pre-post-mortem.  It works like this.  With a trusted panel or group, perhaps senior management, sit around a table, pretend a year has passed and a course of action undertaken has failed.  Perform a post-mortem.  Put on the table all the reasons for the failure.  Let your imagination soar.  Then consider the probability of each reason and – here’s the most important part – brainstorm what can be done now to prevent the supposed failure.  Safeguard your business, your employees and your customers against a worst-case scenario, and increase the probability of success.

Hoping the best for you in 2016 and looking forward to hearing about your many successes.