Letter to Employees on What Lehman Means for Us

This boss won't let his company face this economy lying down. Roll up your sleeves.

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GL Hoffman
Dear Employee,

If you are like me, last night you watched the bad news from Wall Street. It was sad seeing all those people lose their jobs.

After the news shows ended, and after we heard how the Lehman-Merrill Lynch-AIG problem would no doubt lead to all sorts of future financial problems for the U.S.A.—and indeed the whole world, don'tcha know?—you probably started to think about how this mess would affect our company.

So, this letter is for you, our employee, who is worried about the future: Are we going to be OK?

Here's the deal. Truthfully, these are tough times. No question. Our customers are being more watchful than ever on what they are spending with us, and our prospects are looking to save money. Often, they don't want to change suppliers. It will most likely be a tough environment for some time ahead.

But here's what I want to say: Boo-frickin'-hoo. Now is not the time to cry in our beer and play "ain't-it-just-awful?"

It would be awfully easy to do just that. Trouble is, after we all play that game, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. The worse we act, the worse it gets. Our job here is to hunker down, but not like you might think. We are not going to hunker down and bury our heads in the sand and lose sight of what we do and what we provide to our customers. Just the opposite—we are going to hunker down and work that much harder, tell our story more frequently and with more intensity than ever. We are going to do better than ever. Our competitors are timid—too careful and too concerned with how the global economy will impact them. We know customers are still going to buy and they want to buy from people who don't cower in corners but who work on positive things.

You see, most firms today are hunkering down in the old-fashioned way. They are slashing budgets, eliminating positions, dropping new ideas. Screw that.

Now is the time when winners show up. Our people--that is YOU—are indeed winners. We selected and hired you just for times like this. Because everyone can be successful when it's easy—it takes special people to work through tough times.

Back to work.

G.L. Hoffman is a serial entrepreneur and venture investor/operator/incubator/mentor. Two of his companies have traveled the entire success path from the garage to IPO. Currently, he is chairman of JobDig and his blog can be found at WhatWouldDadSay.com or at JobDig.com.