Dear Readers,

The best way to react to an economic downturn is to focus and execute better than your competition. Unfortunately, many of us spend too much time talking about the problems we face as a company and what happened in the past. Neither of these activities adds anything to the bottom line. The first step must be to effectively execute your corporate business strategy.

We should be looking at strategies that have a positive return on investment ­ those that reflect our current strategic and product focus. Now is not the time to be taking risk. Rather, we must focus on our companies' core strengths and products, trying to do "more with less."

Several key questions should be addressed. Are we adding value? Can this process be simplified? Is there a way to do this with less cost? Does the customer perceive the same value? Does this lead to increased revenue and profit? If we can execute better, we will move our companies forward, thereby positively affecting the overall economy.

Another area of focus should be technology. We should evaluate and analyze all the technology implemented during the last decade to assess its impact on the organization. Is it adding value, or is it creating obstacles that hinder success? If it is difficult to use and provides little incremental value, should it be discarded? Do we have another product that provides similar functionality and would be more effective? Can we consolidate our data sources, eliminate redundancy and reduce our annual license fees? Can we standardize the company on fewer technologies, maximizing the proficiency of our human capital?

It is only by effectively and efficiently executing our business strategy that we will succeed. With the threat of war, the loss of confidence in financial reporting, the raising of trade barriers, the increased costs associated with security and all of the uncertainty that exists today, isn't it time we make that execution our primary goal?

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