To be certain, we have experienced crises before. Oil has had dramatic changes several times in the past. Recessions or depressions have come and gone. The impact of a new rising economy such as that in China has happened before. Central banks have intervened at various points in history. But what has not occurred is the perfect storm of all these things happening at once. Economists, politicians, financial analysts and business leaders are all grappling to determine the impact in their regions, countries or companies.
What is the reality? Lily Tomlin, in her brilliant one woman performance "In search of intelligent life in the universe" posed this question to her character. She opined that reality was '...nothing more than a collective hunch...' She may have been on to something!
As a leader, how are you to respond? I submit that these are times when common sense must prevail. There is no value in assuming that somehow your company can swim against the current and be unscathed by current events. While that may be true in hindsight, setting goals and objectives that are unachievable is both foolish and disheartening for your employees.
They read; they listen; they know the problems that we are facing. If your strategy is one which ignores reality, then a bunker mentality is going to set in. And when you call 'charge', not many will be willing to leave the fold in search of fools gold.
We are running a marathon right now and we need to prepare and respond accordingly. It might be true that you miss an opportunity in the short term, but if that presents a serious issue, then you have bigger problems that you need to address!
Pollyanna was a fictitious character. But your responsibilities are real. For the benefit of all, plan accordingly.