Three Strategies to Dominate in a Scary EconomyTomorrow is Halloween. So it’s fitting to read a very well written piece in Fortune about “how smart companies are facing the doomsayers with great ideas and fearless moves.” Senior Editor at Large, Geoff Colvin, has been a long-time favorite business writer of mine. He often shows how the best leaders build the strongest companies.

In “Three Strategies to Dominate in a Scary Economy“, Geoff writes that today’s negative economic news dominating our headlines “are an insidious force that’s undermining the native optimism that buoys up businesspeople everywhere.” He points out that “even in today’s uncertain economy, some companies are winning big.” He goes on to show “three strategies are helping smart companies dominate:

  • They manage for value
  • They keep developing human capital
  • They get radically customer-centric.”

Geoff provides a few prominent examples of companies thriving in our turbulent times using these approaches. I found it especially interesting that he mentioned Wells Fargo and General Mills. These are two major and long-time Zenger Folkman Clients using highly customized programs within our Strengths-Based Leadership Development System.

Geoff writes, “consider General Mills, prospering in the fiercely competitive food industry. Its famously demanding leadership culture hasn’t wavered, and the company ranks No. 21 on’s new list of the 25 companies where it’s hardest to get hired.In the Foreword to Zenger Folkman’s excellent new book, How to Be Exceptional: Drive Leadership Success by Magnifying Your Strengths,  Kevin Wilde, VP, Organization Effectiveness and Chief Learning Officer at General Mills wrote of the meeting he had with his skeptical CEO when they were considering Zenger Folkman’s strengths-based leadership development approach.

Kevin replied:

“While some need to concentrate on fatal flaws, most of our leaders would be wasting their time making small, incremental improvements on a few, below-average scores that may not matter in the long run … if we concentrate all our efforts getting everyone to average, that is what we will achieve — a company of average leaders … we needed exceptional leaders with profound strengths that matter.

Weaknesses are scary. Strengths are enabling. Build strengths and boldly say boo to the ghosts and goblins of doubt and uncertainty.