Turbulent Times

August 25, 2011

Originally distributed August 22, 2011

“A time of turbulence is a dangerous time, but its greatest danger is a temptation to deny reality. The new realities fit neither the assumptions of the Left nor those of the Right. They do not mesh at all with ‘what everybody knows.’ They differ even more from what everybody, regardless of political persuasion, still believes reality to be. ‘What if’ differs totally from what both Right and Left believe ‘ought to be.’ The greatest and most dangerous turbulence today results from the collision between the delusion of the decision makers, whether in governments, in the top managements of business, or in union leadership, and the realities.”

Peter F. Drucker
New Year’s Day, 1980
Introduction to Managing in Turbulent Times

Sometimes the best books are those that you reread from a different perspective. The turbulent times Drucker wrote about in 1980 included new competition from Asia (Japan), the Cold War (Soviet Union), conflict in the Middle East (Iran), an energy crisis (oil), monetary policy concerns (inflation), and tumultuous politics. Some of these sound eerily similar, while others are quite different and perhaps even more serious in 2011.

As we prepare for the 10th anniversary of September 11th, and the 3rd anniversary of the near financial collapse of 2008, we can look back and see that the Columbus Region has both thrived and struggled. Our population and economy have grown, but we’ve also been hardened by the difficulties and stress of these times.

His advice was simple but remains relevant – manage the fundamentals, manage for tomorrow, manage the sea change of the new population dynamics. The Columbus2020! growth strategy provides a compass for our Region, not a map, and we must adhere to this advice. We must have basic fundamentals that we manage each day and year by attracting, retaining, and growing new companies. We must continue to monitor the environment, eager to pounce upon new economic opportunities as they present themselves, and we cannot deny the reality of continued globalization, population changes, and technology’s advance into our everyday lives.

I would encourage you to take a look at Drucker’s book – perhaps for the second time, and to forward your thoughts on how the Columbus Region can manage and thrive in these turbulent times.

Columbus2020! Update

The Columbus Region now includes 11 counties in Central Ohio, a population of nearly 2 million talented people, and a host of innovative companies. Columbus2020! continues to market that 11-county Region by cultivating relationships with site selection professionals and companies across the country. Last week the team called on a number of consultants in the Indianapolis market and provided an update on market activity and reinforced key regional assets. In addition Columbus2020! staff worked hard to leverage the Coal-Gen Energy Conference that was hosted here in Columbus. Thanks to Experience Columbus for their great work to welcome the conference attendees and energy executives to our Region.

Kenny McDonald
Chief Economic Officer