I've been working with clients lately who exhibit what I like to call static thinking. They seem to believe that models that may have worked six months or a year ago will continue to work after such a dramatic shift in the economy. As we head into a significant slowdown, we need people who can think differently.
As the economy changes, consumers will demand different choices, products and services. Merely responding with the existing catalog of offerings is insufficient. Using the same tools, models and thinking that existed a year ago will only cause your team to shoot well short of the mark. As a leader, you need to introduce the concept of elastic thinking to your group.
Here's an example to make this concept more "concrete". In a discussion I led recently about some new product development work, we were discussing how to gain more input from clients and prospects about the requirements for a new product. We were told by one person on the team that unless we queried x number of people with y distribution at a cost of $Z dollars, then we could not possibly hope to arrive at a reasonable answer and should stop the project. Well, that may have been true one year ago, but in this environment we need to be more flexible, and find ways to gain insights and perspectives that inform our thinking in less time, and with less cost. It simply can't be an either/or decision. We need some "yes, and" thinking.
It's as if the environment has changed but no one has chosen to adapt to the new rules and expectations. To be successful in this environment, your team has to be able to adapt to the possibilities and work within the scope of opportunity and expectation. If you need client feedback, find ways to get it without the extensive cost. If you need to pilot or prototype a product, do so at little or no cost. One way to do the latter is to team with university students who are working on a senior project, for example. Don't tell me we "have to do it the old way or the answers aren't legitimate". That doesn't hold water and displays a type of thinking that will result in your team or business gradually going extinct while you fail to adapt to new expectations and surroundings.