“It’s the Economy, Stupid”

Lets All Participate in Our Own Recovery

Lets All Participate in Our Own Recovery

The title of this post was a slogan from George H. Bush’s (senior Bush) failed 1992 Presidential campaign. Sixteen years later, the same line appears to apply. On International Project Management Day, we surveyed our Project Managers on what they thought the most pressing problems we needed to work on as project managers were. The results were:

World Economy – 31%

Energy Conservation – 17%

Hunger – 15%

Global Warming – 13%

Poverty – 12%

Infrastructure – 12%

Albert Einstein said that you can’t solve a problem with the same thinking that went into creating it. The problems with the World’s Economy is that the FIRST thing people think when they want to do a project is how do I get the money to do this. What needs to change is the first thing people need to think is what do I need to do to successfully complete this project (it might not be about the money at all). I have found time and time again it is NEVER about the money that drives a desire to solve a problem – it is about the will to solve the problem. In my previous post, I mentioned there are FOUR other sources of capital we all have at our immediate disposal: Social, Knowledge, Brand, and Operating. These four sources of capital developed and put into play synergistically create long term sustainable success – far more enduring than just getting a loan from a bank or developing a reliance on credit cards.

The resources to solve the World Economy issues will require a fundamental shift in driving the will to work. I was recently at a picnic that my accountants hosted. I was sitting at a table with this gentleman who said his son’s were out of “work” because of the economy. I asked him if they were able bodied. He said, yes they were strapping young men in good health. I assured him they could always find work. I know a young man from Haines, Alaska that is never without “work.” Why, because he is willing to roll up his sleeves and do whatever is necessary to get the job done. He is willing to do the WORK. I got to watch this guy while he was working on one of my job sites. He didn’t go out partying with the guys after work, got a good nights rest and was always at work early ready to go. He was the best guy on the job, and the youngest. Yes it might not be his ideal WORK – but he is quite willing to WORK and shows up everyday ready to work. Recently, I met another guy who upon losing his nice desk job, took work doing day labor to make an income until things turned in his favor. On the flip side, I was visiting south India and went to a very popular beach with several thousand people that was literally covered with litter. All it would take for that beach to get cleaned up was for each person there to pick up a couple of pieces of litter. It didn’t appear anyone there wanted to do even that level of minimal work. The “work” is there for those willing and READY to go out and DO it. Yes the pay might not be ideal and it might not be in what you specifically want to do in the moment – but it is there.

Project Managers can help put the world back to work. But they can’t do it alone – they will need people willing and ready to do the work. Yes the jobs might not be the ideal job that someone wants for their lifelong career. But instead of waiting for a handout – give others a hand up and go do the work people need done. “WE” doing the work of what needs to be done are going to create a more stable and sustainable future – NOT the government doing bailouts of our financial institutions who got us into this mess to begin with with easy credit.

There is a joke that the reasons American’s don’t own more elephants is because no one has offered them one for $1 down and easy payments. The days of easy payments are over – but it doesn’t mean we are over. It means purchasing stupid things that we don’t need just because the payment terms were good are over. When we figure out how to develop and leverage our four sources of capital, we don’t need their stinkin money anyhow.

Think about how you solve your problems today. For holiday presents, if you don’t have the cash on hand, do you finance the holidays with your credit cards? What if you took a different approach and only gave what it was you could afford at the time – and if that gift was just a gift of your time, so be it? If you’re of the mindset that you get whatever it is you want to get today, regardless of how you’re going to pay for it tomorrow, YOU are part of the problem, NOT part of the solution.

I don’t use credit at all, for ANYTHING. I figure out how to solve my problems and reach my goals with the four sources of capital I do have within me at all times. Like the others I’ve seen around me who are successful even in tough times, I take care of myself – body, mind and soul so that I am ready to work, roll up my sleeves and get the job done. This is the type of thinking we need to adopt to solve the problems of the world economy – NOT a hand out from the government to continue “easy payments” available mentality.

Leverage your four sources of capital to creatively solve your problems, reach your goals and help others do the same. Make sure you consistently show up in life ready for work. This will create the money you want and need rather than relying on a loan, a credit card, or a handout. How we each deal with our own role in this will go a long way to solving the problem.

I love dissension – if you think I’ve got it all wrong, feel free to comment.

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