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How does your company handle times of extreme challenge?

How does your company handle times of extreme challenge?
(Image credit: SmartBrief)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 200,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

How does your company handle times of extreme challenge? 

  • We hunker down and don’t do anything different until things calm down. 16%
  • We play defensively but take on small new initiatives with low risk. 37%
  • We aggressively seek new opportunities and invest behind them. 48%

Seizing the moment: While the poll is split on those playing offense and those playing defense, the implications are pretty clear. For those acting defensively, you need to factor in how other market participants will behave when calculating your stance. If you’re not factoring in the aggressive 48% into your expectations, your defensive stance might cost you more than you anticipate. Strategy isn’t just about your actions – it’s about your actions in relation to other players in the market. You might find your defensive strategy puts you further behind your more aggressive competition and when you come out of that defensive stance ready to compete aggressively again, you may have a lot of catch-up to play. While being defensive is certainly understandable, you could be creating many more risks than you believe you are. Conduct a rigorous market assessment before choosing a stance.


Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He’s the author of three leadership books: “One Piece of Paper,” “Lead Inside the Box” and “The Elegant Pitch.”