Posts Tagged ‘crisis’

What do you fear?

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

Whether you were born in Latin America or in the US to Hispanic parents/grandparents, you probably share many traits with other Latinos. Yes, we all have our own nuances and we are not all the same by any stretch of the imagination, but coming from the same region provides a common denominator.

If you take in consideration that, in general, the system doesn’t work as well in Latin America as it does in developed nations like the US, you already have the makings of two traits: a strong need to develop relationships (because unless you know somebody, nothing will get done and you will get nowhere!) and a great flexibility. We are the masters of trouble shooting, we are resourceful beyond belief, we are incredibly creative and we are awesome at coming up with solutions to the most complex problems. All of which makes us very adept to change, something that comes in handy in job market situations like the one we are experiencing now.

In the context of the global economic collapse, Latin America is not doing that badly. Why? Because it has seen many crises that were much worse than this one. Because they’ve been in the forefront of making do with less, in figuring out how to get out of an impossible predicament. Talk about “reduce, re-use, recycle,” people in that region grew up inheriting the clothes of their siblings, cousins and friends; they wash their paper plates and plastic ware and they’ve had smaller cars that run on alternative fuels for a very, very long time.

And even though this trait is extremely powerful in our current situation, you must remember that it is just one of the many advantageous traits that you bring to the table.

So my question is this: Why if we have so many unique characteristics are we not assuming more leadership positions in this country? What are we afraid of?

Let’s change our attitude

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009
    Monument in honor of jews killed in WWII. A great way to honor lives; the metal leafs move with the wind.

I grew up in Argentina, a country that had –and continues to have– it’s fair share of good and bad times. (Although more bad stretches than good!) Every time I go back, regardless of how good or bad things are going, people say: “You never know what’s going to happen tomorrow.” That phrase blocks their ability to plan for the future, something many Latin American people have trouble doing. I feel, that is very much what’s happening to many of us here, in the U.S. right now.

It’s easy to fall prey of the bad news and the generally depressed mood out there and to stop doing all the normal things we used to do. From eating out, to buying groceries and going to the movies. It’s not only that the economy is in poor shape, but the way in which we handle the situation makes things worse.

I propose a change: let’s stop complaining about how bad things are and begin looking at ways in which we can continue to be productive and creative. Let’s exercise those creative muscles that get atrophied during good times when you don’t have to think about how to make do with less.

So, why don’t we take a good look at what we have (our health, our family, a roof over our heads, whatever the case may be) and be grateful for that. And then let’s focus on what is still working, what companies are still hiring, who is making money in this economy and why. Then, let’s try to adapt ideas that are working for other industries to ours, whether it’s a process or a type of partnership or the target audience those successful companies are focusing on.

Only by shifting gears into a more positive outlook will we find the opportunities laying right in front of us.

How to Survive in this Market

Monday, October 13th, 2008

I’m sure you’ve been reading, listening and watching lots of experts share tips about what to do in this crisis. I don’t profess to have the magic wand, but I’ll add my two cents for my Latino audience.

Keep in mind that as a person with a Hispanic background who either grew up in Latin America or was raised by a family who did, you’re likely to have several traits that come very handy in times of crisis. They are the result of having experienced such unstable situations and having to adjust to changing conditions often. Some of these traits are your adaptability to change, your creativity, your ability to solve problems and your relationship-building skills. Here are a few things that you can do to showcase those traits at work:

• Come up with creative ways to cut expenses, such as sharing resources with companies or organizations in your industry.
• Conduct a brainstorming session with your teammates to discuss more effective ways to market your products or services.
• Build team spirit at a time when your company may have experienced job cuts and those of you who are left have a lot more work to do.
• Try to partner with non profit organizations or other companies to reach the same audience.
• Offer to assume a different role if you see that your job is not the most critical right now.

Remember, you have lots of built-in advantages. This is a great opportunity for you to show that you have what it takes to be a leader.

We are all in this together

Monday, August 4th, 2008

    You can’t avoid it. Everywhere you look, regardless who you talk to, people are being laid off, or fired, or losing their businesses… it’s a pretty bad state of affairs.

    And maybe you still have your job and are doing fine, thank you very much. But the truth is that we are all in this together and sooner or later, the crisis will affect you too. Whether it is because your friends won’t be able to afford going out for dinner with you or because you loose several of your contracts due to cutbacks in your client’s company, there is no way of avoiding the crisis from touching you in one way or another.

    In this interconnected, smaller world we live in, we all share in the pain and success of others. That should give us something to think about. If you are lucky and you have a job, cherish it, and find ways in which you can bring more value to your company. At the same time, make sure you help your friends and colleagues land new opportunities: organize events where they can meet others, introduce them to your contacts, brainstorm career options, etc.

    “Practical empathy” is something we should all try at times like this. It strengthens our bonds to each other and it makes harder times a little easier to deal with.