Saturday, January 26, 2008

Prospering in Tough Times

There's a great scene in It's a Wonderful Life (if you haven't seen it at least 10 times I doubt your humanity). It takes place in the Bailey Building and Loan during a "run" on the banks of Bedford Falls. Potter, the town miser, is buying up bank stock at 10 cents on the dollar and tries to buy up the Building and Loan stock as well (which would give him effective control over every financial institution in town). George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) warns the people with these remarkable words. "Potter isn't selling. Potter's buying. And why? Because we're panicking and he's not."

Uncertainty leads to a kind of panic and knee jerk reaction rather than a calm reasoned action. Potter, the villain of the movie, is actually setting a great example for American business leaders in times like we will most likely face in 2008. Many will panic and make unwise decisions. A few will remain calm and thoughtful and focused on their strategy. The latter will always win over the former.

While 2008 will require adjustments and changes, thoughtfulness and courage will prevail.

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