Confucius on Ad Agency CEOs Emerging Strong from the Recession

Think twice, then act decisively in pursuit of new business
by Todd Knutson

Chi Wan thought three times before taking action. When the Master was informed of it, he said, "Twice will do."

Shaun Rein writes about "Confucius' Three Keys to Successful Leadership" in a recent Forbes magazine article, making the case that too many executives either:

  • Act without thinking, or
  • Don't act at all.

Decisions made the first way may be rash and lead to unintended results, while avoiding decisions altogether often leads to failure, because doing nothing usually won't carry you through a crisis.

Instead, do as Confucius recommends: think twice before taking action, but then act boldly and take decisive steps.

Yesterday I wrote about an expected uptick in spending by marketers, which could represent the beginning of the end of the recession.This is a good time to think and carefully plan your "recession exit strategy", and then act boldly. Don't wait to ramp up your new business efforts.

In the Forbes article, Rein relates an example of a recent missed opportunity. "In 2007 hardly anyone knew what a netbook was. Looking at the market, people at companies like Asus and Acer noticed that laptop makers like Dell weren't giving consumers everything they wanted. They pounced on the unmet need and began selling inexpensive small computers that would provide the basic functions like Web surfing that most consumers demand. Major laptop makers held back, seeing netbooks as a low-margin fad not worth getting involved in. They didn't take the time to see the big picture. In 2008, sales of netbooks topped 11 million. Asus and Acer between them control 68% of a market that some estimate will reach 35 million units in 2009."

What new business opportunities do you see that no one else does? How might you reorganize your agency to pursue them? What new business tactics will you employ? When will you start your marketing campaigns?

Don't wait. Some say this recession represents the biggest new business opportunity of our lifetimes. How can you make it so for your agency?

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