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Dec 8, 201612:57 PMMaking Madison

with Buckley Brinkman

Presidency change? It’s the same old, same old

(page 1 of 2)

“We’ve never seen this before!”

Oh, but yes we have. Presidential election time is always uncertain and the business reaction is usually the same. I am not minimizing possible Trump policy changes and their effects on social issues or international relations. Instead, I’m focused on the uncertainty facing the business community and more than a decade’s worth of observations on its reaction to these transitions. From that perspective, this presidential election is no different than the past seven.

Manufacturers and other leaders always seem to use these elections as reasons to wait rather than make tough decisions about their futures. Many of these same people are waiting again to see what President-elect Trump will ultimately do, but winning companies rarely wait for the fog to lift on new policies. They create their own paths. Now is the time to follow their lead because the fundamental trends have never been clearer for action.

Personally, I can remember the last seven elections and the same pattern always emerges. Around the Fourth of July, chatter begins to change from “what do we do next” to “maybe we should wait to see who wins.” It starts as isolated conversations and by the fall, those discussions are front and center wherever you go. By election time, most people are focused on what will happen in D.C., and not so much on what they can do with their business.

It’s interesting to me how many really smart people buy into these discussions. Maybe it’s because sometimes waiting is easier than taking decisive action. Or it could be that listening to these conversations makes it easier to rationalize struggles within your own company. Whatever the reason, uncertainty in the presidency becomes a common discussion topic, friends become an echo chamber, and everyone waits for clarity.

Instead of waiting for the Trump policies to come out of the mist, it makes more sense to look at what worked in the past. More often than not success or failure depends on individual action, not government policies. If you believe that premise, then it makes much more sense to act rather than wait.

Winning companies take action by focusing on the fundamentals — both inside and outside of their organization. These companies keep it simple, using straightforward tools to understand their situation and set direction. Engaging their entire team, these companies create a shared view of their position, practical strategies to move ahead, and steady actions to execute. This approach puts these organizations in position to make small bets to test those strategies and keep moving forward. Wait becomes a four-letter word.


Dec 9, 2016 05:43 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Well I have put off retirement until see where the medicare costs go and social security so that is one body. But I have also evaluated my business plan for my on line business next year. Given my market I expected an uptick in sales due to the overtime rule changes - they are now on hold and may disappear. I am already getting art consignments from freelancers who depend on the affordable care act (especially folks in their 40's and 50's) and are preparing for major changes. Expect some shifts in that market and the gig economy next year. This will continue as people learn more details about what is going to happen - the affordable care act through the marketplace reduces medicare costs- medicare is a key role in maintaining a health care infrastructure in many Wisconsin rural counties. As the affordable care act ends or changes there will be major changes in those counties. over 50% of the population is waiting to see what happens because they will be affected by health care changes, social security changes and changes in tax codes (which may not be all that rosy for many given the basic details- some people will lose benefits and see their taxes flat or increase) I expect we will see some slowing in local expenditures by families as details come out. It also probably is a good time to sell off any property near water as it will be rising whether we all believe in climate change or not. Also be careful with your taxes as there will be more audits like under Reagan (and on small businesses under Walker) I have lived 66 years and weathered a number of bad eras. You don't shut down shop- you persevere but you don't go into them blind either. Learn the details!

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About This Blog

Buckley Brinkman is executive director and CEO of the Wisconsin Center for Manufacturing & Productivity and writes about the manufacturing sector in Greater Madison and throughout Wisconsin. He has a breadth of experience in helping companies drive growth, world-class competitiveness, and performance excellence, and has led efforts to save dozens of operations in the U.S. by finding new ways for them to compete. A Wisconsin native, Brinkman holds a business degree from the University of Wisconsin and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.



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