Outside the Box: Tech companies are suddenly playing it safe — why that’s a strategy blunder

by | Nov 10, 2022 | Stock Market

Technology giants Meta, Stripe and Lyft are laying off thousands. The Ukraine war is keeping gas prices near record highs and stoking geopolitical uncertainty. The Federal Reserve has jacked up interest rates to their highest level since 2008. Economists are predicting a U.S. recession within the next year. This is no time to be launching new initiatives, right?

Wrong. Recessions are a particularly great time to build new things — if managers and their company leadership can overcome their paralyzing fear. While your competitors are responding to uncertainty by a well-worn recession playbook — cut back on new investment and hiring, reduce P&L duplications to bring down costs, and lock down any non-core spending – this is your opportunity to use their fear against them. It’s human nature to get emotionally attached to what’s happening in the present rather than the future, hence the scary feeling that there’s no end to the bad news. Our brains are wired to respond to threats by playing it safe. Yet history shows us that many successful leaders and companies are staunchly future-focused, even during tumult — especially during tumult. They overcome their fear and bring others along with their visions for the next big thing. They have perspective, such as the fact that most recessions last less than a year and have helped birth some of the world’s most successful enterprises. Microsoft
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