Leadership, Impermanence, and Navigating Business Cycles by ProQuest

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Impermanence is part of the natural order of the world. When leaders fight against it, they try to control what is uncontrollable; in the process, they miss opportunities to use adversity for the benefit of their organizations. The turn in the business cycle is a good time for leaders to focus on organizational values and purpose. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]

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      Leadership, Impermanence, and
        Navigating Business Cycles
            Barry Brownstein, University of Baltimore

                                    Abstract

Impermanence is part of the natural order of the world.
When leaders fight against it, they try to control what is
uncontrollable; in the process, they miss opportunities to use
adversity for the benefit of their organizations. The turn in
the business cycle is a good time for leaders to focus on or-
ganizational values and purpose.


     In Shakespeare’s As You Like It, Duke Senior, his
throne usurped, has been exiled into the Forest of Ar-
den. Even so, life is not all bad, he allows, “(for)
sweet are the uses of adversity.” Duke Senior does not
say he’s glad for adversity; but he prefers to use his
adverse circumstances wisely, rather than to spend his
life complaining.

     Part of the work of a leader is to be comfortable
with change. Very few would be surprised if the coming
years bring unprecedented changes in the external
world. How to respond to rapid change is a challenge
all of us and our organizations will face.

    All of us have known loss, some more than others.
But until very recently, most Americans alive today
have known decades of uninterrupted, increasing pros-
perity. Indeed, in March 2009, The International Mone-
tary Fund reported “that the world economy, reeling
from financial crisis, was on track to shrink for the first




The Business Renaissance Quarterly: Enhancing the Quality of Life at Work   159
time in 60 years.”1 Most of us have not experienced the
full cycle of economic life; like a 
								
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