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Seeing red and feeling blue?


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I woke up the morning after the election wondering what I was going to do for my daily dose of vitriol. Then I remembered that nothing really changed, and we have a fiscal cliff looming. Problem solved!

With the rancor of the debates and the election behind us, what’s next for business leaders? Whether, like me, you have a more conservative mindset or, like some of my extremely successful business clients, you have a more liberal mindset, you have to deal with reality. Elections are supposed to provide clarity, yet this one leaves many questions—especially for the business community. If you run an organization with employees, competitors and laws to follow, you’ve always had challenges along with the opportunities. You still have both.

For instance, you need to figure out what you’ll do about health care for your employees. Hire people part time or full time? Employ fewer workers? Take the expense and cut elsewhere? Most of us haven’t read all 2,000 pages of the health care law (maybe Nancy Pelosi has gotten around to it by now), but the impact on business is becoming clear, so plan for it.

Many business leaders have slowed down investment in capital expense areas. New computers, machines to manufacture widgets and the occasional Gulfstream G650, for the extremely successful, have been shelved. Some of this is prudent (you could probably get by with a G550), but much of it is irrational.

I met a business owner the other day who said if President Obama were re-elected, he was selling his business and moving to an island. It’s critical to have a rational capital budgeting process and to look hard at ROI, but for goodness’ sake, buy the new widget maker if it makes sense (or grab some sunscreen and head for the beach)!

Most important, if you run a business in Colorado, you need to figure out whether you’ll allow your employees to work stoned and play Bob Marley in the lunchroom. (I’m kidding on this one, though I’m thinking of opening up a new business for chocolate chip cookie delivery.)

Too many business leaders are treading water. Guess what? If the drain gets pulled, we all drown. Yes, conserve some cash, but don’t stop running your business! Too many people have been like gawkers driving past a bloody accident on the highway, slowing down their progress for no good reason.

I’m working with a bunch of clients who are growing both the top and bottom line in their business. You can, too! You still must have a strategy, and you have to execute brilliantly. But waiting for the political system to fix itself won’t help you, your employees or the country. Whether you pine for Reagan or Clinton—he ain’t here! Get over it! Let’s do business!

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Todd Ordal

Todd Ordal is President of Applied Strategy LLC. Todd helps CEOs achieve better financial results, become more effective leaders and sleep easier at night. He speaks, writes, consults and advises on issues of strategy and leadership. Todd is a former CEO and has led teams as large as 7,000. Follow Todd on Twitter here. You can also find Todd at http://www.appliedstrategy.info,  303-527-0417 or todd@appliedstrategy.info

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