Prairie Trail Logo

Views from the Prairie

February 09

It's Official! It's a Recession. Now what?

It is official. The proper agency has seen the decline and finally (!) stated that we are in a recession. Now what? There are a couple of broad lessons we can learn from prior recessions and economic hard times.

1. What worked in the years leading up to the recession won't work again for many years.

Certainly, the large income from originating "sub-prime" mortgages won't come back for a long time. Other growth areas are going into a long term decline also. In the financial transaction business, we saw a lot of money made by ISO's signing up new merchants. In this recession, we are likely to see a large number of retail shops and restaurants go under. That means that ISO's are going to see their income slashed as the banks and other organizations see their market as "easy money" to take.

2. Significant changes will occur in our society. There are always new ideas floating around. People are always trying new ventures and new ways to change how our society operates. During a recession is when these ideas start being adopted. Of these many alternatives, one or two will quickly grow into a viable change for our society. Which one will fly? We never know before hand. But we can be sure of one thing: deep recessions always open the doors to deep changes in our society. For example, it wasn't until the 1930's depression that California became the leader of new fashions and ideas that it is today. Likewise, it was during the recessions of the late 50's and early 60's that the Visa credit card was launched and became successful.

3. Leadership flows to those who act. The natural reaction of most people to hard times is to "hunker down" and try to out last the hard times. It is our natural wishful thinking that if we wait, the good times will come back. That winds up being a "slow death" when the recession keeps rolling on and on. Those who act are more likely to survive even if action after action is proven to be a mistake. For example, during the 1930's, Boeing kept trying new ideas. They even opened a furniture shop in order to keep their workers employed.

We would like to help you act. We can work with you on your ideas for new transactions using cell phones, ubiquitous internet or other ideas.

Spiritual Results

Layoffs are happening all around us. Have you seen the effects of the layoffs on your people, not just on those laid off, but also on those who are left? Have you noticed the effects on employee morale with the salary reductions that everyone had to take and the forced time off without pay?

Team spirit is an important part of work. The way that we interact with each other, how we feel about ourselves and the deep guidelines for our actions are all driven by our "spirit". Work is a "Spiritual" activity. What happens at work affects our integrity, morals, our bonds with other people, as well as our hopes and dreams.

That is also why we can not count on people to act like robots. When things happen at work, it affects our employee's spirit and they react in "spiritual" ways. What happens when people are laid off or forced to take less than what they had hoped for, people's spirits are affected - both of those laid off and those who survive.

It turns out that profit is also very dependent on this "spiritual" side of work. While short term profits can be made by violating integrity, those profits can vanish faster than spit on a hot Texas sidewalk as can be seen in both the financial meltdown and the peanut butter fiasco.

If you want more from people, often the best way is to invest in the spiritual bonds between the workers.


There is no security on this earth; there is only opportunity

General Douglas MacArthur


This newsletter is posted here as well as sent via mail and email. If you wish to receive updates, please sign up above.

Recent Issues

  1. Jan09.html

Prior Years

  1. 2008