Inflation has run rampant over the first half of 2022. The aftermath of the pandemic is still reverberating across the globe. War in Europe is shaking supply chains to their roots. There are economic and political debates and arguments about whether we are in or facing a recession.

The important strategic reality is that we have experienced two-quarters of negative GDP growth and that hiring momentum has slowed, layoff news (especially in the technology sector) is common, and consumers are much more cautious. Data shows a pullback as fuel and food price spikes impact household budgets. This is another ‘test’ environment for leaders to make drastic or fine-tuned adjustments to remain competitive.

Suffice to say, there are a lot of factors keeping many executives up at night. Fortunately, the situation isn’t quite as bleak as it looks at first glance. 

When leaders are complacent or lead from a reactionary posture, it’s difficult to keep up with the tides of change. Forward-thinking, proactive executives take matters into their own hands whenever possible. 

Here are a few tips and suggestions leaders should consider as they prepare their companies for the potentially turbulent waters in the year ahead.

Consider Current Priorities When Cutting Costs

If 2023 proves to be a tough year, many CEOs will be facing the uncomfortable decision to cut costs wherever and whenever possible. As they do this, it’s important for the C-suite to be willing to adapt to the financial priorities of their current circumstances. 

The post-pandemic world—or the “new normal,” as many call it—has rewritten many aspects of how we conduct business. The poster child of this change is the mass adoption of remote work. Other factors have quietly changed, as well. Contracting workers is more common than ever. Supply chains are still struggling and have not returned to their fragile pre-pandemic nature again. 

As leaders navigate these changes, they must be willing to recognize that past cost-cutting strategies won’t always work. Current priorities aren’t the same as they were two or three years ago. Tech infrastructure is essential. Robust supply chains are important. If leaders want to effectively lead throughout the unknown challenges of 2023, they need to learn how to shift their priorities—even if they’re figuring out what those are in real-time.

Look for the Right Kind of Leaders

Let’s be real for a second. Some leaders shine because they follow the rules well. Others are particularly organized or keep everyone in line. 

Then there are the leaders that thrive in chaos. These are individuals who are wired for times of turnaround. They don’t need a clear script to function and are willing to off-road for solutions. They see tough times as a challenge to rise to the occasion, find answers, and inspire others in the process. 

An economic pullback comes with lots of unexpected twists and turns. It’s worthwhile to make a proactive effort to stock your C-suite with personalities that thrive during the low points. That way, when things get tough, their zeal and creativity will naturally influence the rest of your organization. 

Be Opportunistic About Layoffs

Layoffs are inevitable at times. However, there are a couple of different ways that you can positively handle a re-shuffling of talent. This can mitigate losses and, at times, even lead to substantial gains. 

For instance, if you have quality employees that you’re struggling to retain due to budgetary pressure, there may be circumstances that provide an easy exit. If other companies are willing to grab them, use that as an opportunity to let them go as a win-win situation. 

On the other hand, when there’s a trend in layoffs, there may be times when you should go in the opposite direction. When the recruitment pool is filling with qualified candidates, it can be an ideal time to go bargain-hunting for premiere talent that would otherwise be expensive or even impossible to hire. 

Partnering With Stanton Chase for 2023

As your C-suite prepares for what lies ahead, it’s important to make sure you’re partnered with the right people. Our Stanton Chase team knows how hard it can be to recruit quality managerial talent in a timely manner.  

“As your C-suite prepares for what lies ahead, it’s important to make sure you’re partnered with the right people.” 

Our established network, proven recruitment strategies, and high levels of experience increase the speed-to-hire rates for our clients. This makes it easier to adapt to change and capitalize on opportunities that could benefit your company in 2023.  

We’d love to talk strategy as you set the stage for the coming year. There’s no doubt that it will present unique challenges for business leaders. However, the circumstances may also offer unique opportunities for those who can remain flexible and opportunistic as they strive to help their businesses thrive, even as others struggle to make ends meet.

About the Author

Peter Deragon is the Managing Director of Stanton Chase Los Angeles, and as Global Practice Leader of the Supply Chain, Logistics, and Transportation Practice Group, Peter is also active in the CFO Practice Group and financial services, where he started his career.