Managers have little choice about facing challenges, whether they come from competitors, economic conditions, or customer demands. However, they can choose whether they treat those challenges as problems or opportunities.
Here’s an example of two managers faced with the same challenge — one approached it as a problem to overcome, and the other, a possibility for reinvention:
Although in different industries, both managers’ firms count on the U.S. Federal government for a substantial portion of their business. This means that they both have to deal with the impending downturn in government spending. As background, the Federal government doesn’t actually have an official budget, but the pressure to reduce deficits — along with mandated cuts from previous budget legislation — suggest that Federal agencies will have significantly decreased funds in the coming year. So how do you respond to the challenge of knowing that a major customer is likely to reduce spending by as much as 20% in the coming year?