What’s the Plan When Your Organization is Stuck?
Phil Cooke

Phil Cooke

A business is in a nosedive with product sales.  A nonprofit’s donor income has dropped by half.  A church’s members continue to decline.  All around I’m seeing organizations struggling and dreaming about the past.  When that happens, what do you do?  Most panic.  But if you had a choice, which scenario below would you pick (or ARE you picking now?)

A.  Hunker down and be conservative.  Protect what you have.  This isn’t the time for risk.  Let’s be calm and take it easy.

B.  This is the time to experiment.  Within reason and financial discipline, lean times are the opportunity to shake up stale thinking and innovate.  Sure it’s risky, but what’s the alternative?  Maybe we should be open to some new ideas.

All the way back to the 70’s studies have shown that organizations who continued to advertise during a recession hit as much as a 256-percent growth over their competitors that eliminated or decreased spending.  The numbers aren’t a fluke. They prove there’s a reward for organizations who are aggressive with their advertising efforts in a recession.  Do some fail?  Absolutely.  But the stats seem to be in favor of pushing ahead, especially when things look bleak.

Bad times aren’t the times to hunker down and let fear take over.  After all, the same sorry thinking that got you into this mess isn’t the kind of thinking that will get you out.  I’m reminded of the quote by Will Rogers:  “When you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging.”  Stop doing the same thing that got your here.

Shake things up. If you have to, remove the people who are blocking innovative thinking in your organization.

In today’s disrupted market, you have to innovate or die.


Phil Cooke is a producer and media consultant to churches and ministries across the country. His latest book is “Unique: Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media.” Find out more at www.philcooke.com.

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