“Recalibration” has become my overriding theme for 2009.

As we are thrown deeper into this economic turmoil, a pattern I’ve seen has become more pronounced.

Here’s the pattern: Some companies are “hunkering down” and trying to “ride out the storm,” while others aren’t waiting for anything; they are taking matters into their own hands. As I talk with executives, I’m becoming very adept at noting which category they’ve put themselves in.

The “hunkerers” are making adjustments, tweaks, and cutbacks. They are “keeping their powder dry,” cautiously avoiding mistakes as they wait for things to get better.

What the others are doing is “recalibrating.” They recognize that their world has been reset, that everything is different now. They realize that thriving depends on a new approach to everything:

  • Recalibrating your sense of what really matters to your business.
  • Recalibrating your beliefs about how you generate business results.
  • Recalibrating your beliefs about who your customers are, what your customers want, and what actions you want your customers to take.
  • Recalibrating how you attract new customers, and how you build sustainable relationships with existing customers.
  • Recalibrating your brand, i.e., rethinking what you want people to think about you.
  • Recalibrating what you want your team to do and believe.

Here is my straight-ahead, no-holds-barred, right-in-your-face advice: Recalibrate.

There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing. If you want to thrive, you need to depend on yourself, not on outside economic factors.

Sure, the economy is really important. We’ve never been through anything like this before. However, what really matters is what you do about it.

I’ve been living this for the last few months. The bottom fell out of my (full) sales pipeline in December, as people fell into frozen-decision-making mode. I’ve spent virtually every business-minute since then recalibrating my approach to just about everything in my business, and I’m happy to say that I’m already ahead of where I was at this time last year. It’s not been easy, but it was exactly what I needed to do.

Here is a digest of some of my recent writings to help you recalibrate:

  • My “2009 Readiness Teleseminar” from January, with a free audio download and learning guide.
  • A newsletter from October, encouraging you to look in the mirror, not out the window.
  • A post from tompeters.com encouraging you to be suspicious of across the board cuts.
  • Another post from tompeters.com — This is not a recession.
  • Thoughts on what your most important assets are in tough economic times.
  • “Ops vs. Opps” — saying yes more than saying no.
  • The only stimulus package that really matters to you: Your own.
  • Thoughts on “what do you want to know?” in these time of economic mayhem.
  • Are you riding the stallion, or hanging out in the back of the hay wagon?
  • Why people’s decision making is frozen.

If you have some stories to share about how you’re recalibrating, or if you just want to talk about the recalibration story you hope to write this year, I’d love to hear from you. You can make comments on my blog, or drop me a note at steve@yastrow.com.

In the meantime, start recalibrating… now! Here are a few steps to get you started:

Take Notice

As you hear people talk about their businesses, notice whether they are “hunkerers” or “recalibrators.” You don’t need to listen very closely to be able to tell… hunkerers are scared, cautious, and talking about what they are not going to do. They say “no” a lot. Recalibrators say “yes” a lot, as they take action and focus on opportunities.

How do you compare?

How do you compare? So, what about you and your company? Where do you fall on the “Hunker/Recalibration Continuum?”

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Download the Continuum (JPG)</p>
<p><strong><em>Try This</em></strong></p>
<p align=Recalibration begins with a mindset shift. Accept that the world has been reset, and, from there, be willing to jettison any of your previous assumptions. You won’t need to jettison all of them, of course. You won’t even need to jettison most of them. But you will need to abandon assumptions that you have lived with for years.

Look through the list of recalibration points near the beginning of this newsletter, and talk through this list with your colleagues. As you go through this list, relish the destruction of precious heirlooms.

So, your company has always attended a lot of tradeshows, and it doesn’t seem to make sense any more. Cut!

So, your company tends to ignore its best customers, treating them the same as average customers.Change!

So, the story you’ve been telling for years doesn’t seem to fit your customers’ new reality. Refine!

So, your company has never really brought all of its employees in on the big picture of what you’re trying to accomplish. Discuss!

Most importantly, don’t wait to start.Recalibration can start right now.

What are you waiting for?


  • biodun
    Mar 10, 2009 - 09:41 am

    Brilliant writeup! Message rhymes perfectly with the #54 Brain Science podcast I just listened to this morning. Quite inspiring.

  • Chuck Jones
    Mar 11, 2009 - 13:20 pm

    This is my first visit to your blog and this post is so relevant and on target it needs be on the first page of the NY Times (but that wouldn’t happen since they view the world differently). Great post and the absolute right direction for businesses of all sizes to heed and adopt.

  • Steve Yastrow
    Mar 11, 2009 - 23:17 pm

    Biodun and Chuck,

    Thanks for the comments. So … share with us. How are you recalibtraing?


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