After spending a full week with specialists, analysts, corporate buyers and vendors active in the outsourcing space, during the Gartner Outsourcing Summit and Las Vegas, it is evident that most companies are really focused in the short term reality and are pressured to reduce costs and improve performance. They now have to learn what is to do with less, and understand what it means to work with a “knife” rather than a pen in your hands.
The present times could not be so trying and challenging. The regular approach from the old days will not “cut the mustard”. These are times, where there is a big adjustment taking place, and the underlying message is that we had been living in wonderland up until now. All the parameters that will used to caliber production cycles were pretty much based on unrealistic consumption needs, that were only turbocharged by brain wash type of media frenzy.
Consumption was just a daily routine, carried out without questioning, in a very robotic way. No one would actually stop to determine if there was a real need that warranted the acquisition. No one would question why is another car needed? Or why is there a need to exchange it for a newer model, when the current one is only 18 months old? Like with cars, consumption of all other type of durable goods, were done with leveraging buying power on top of unrealistic worthiness.
Everyone was thought to believe that his or hers net worth could keep escalating without any true value added. That it could escalate just on pure speculation and no consideration to risk. People were caught up in the mad “rat race” of having to have more, regardless of already having their basic needs satisfied. Everyone seemed to forget the famous saying: “there is no free lunch!” No one wanted to look back to check if they actually had how to back it up.
It seems that the day has finally arrived, where everyone begins to realize that not only there is no free lunch, but there is also something called “the law of diminishing returns”. Nothing goes on forever. There will always be a peak limit followed by a stress point. The stress point creates a gap between what was and what is still to become. This “in between”, Is what we call as being a crisis.
However, the current crisis is a very challenging one, as it has to do with the overall underlying assumptions that everyone based their lives on, and which almost all have tumbled down and are no longer true. A new order is required. It is required a new thinking and a more humble attitude, to provide an honest outlook with which humankind may truthfully address the real issues that threaten the future of our children’s children..
If we take a few steps back, we find out that we are overly focused on the economic downturn, and are failing to stay In synch with the greater picture, where we are continuously depleting the planet, as if everything is replenish able, and we can live like there is no tomorrow. The planet is changing rapidly, and some of these changes will require the new humble attitude.
Of course everyone needs to make ends meet, and at the end of the day we want to have food on the table. But we also need to be tuned in with the fact that there may not be a table or a roof to be under. That there may not even be a house or a city, due to new hostile climate conditions, as a consequence of our irresponsible misuse of the natural resources. It takes not having it to really appreciate what is to have it.
So in the end, coming back to the initial question, what is the difference in the end? It is exactly having experienced several different downturns, when you already have so little, that it forces you to the limit of creativity, so you can at least survive. We have commonly referred to this situation in Brazil, has having to sell your lunch snack, so you can be guaranteed to eat supper.
Because of Brazil having been the “forever sleeping giant”, and being a poor country in permanent development, it experienced several challenging moments, where speed of action and creativity where the greatest assets for survival. The constant changing settings pushed everyone to their limit and made them into consistent and constant innovators. This is what we believe is the real difference in the end: – To have hands on experience in how to manage daily change and make it happen with less.
Nothing like coming from the times of not having, of absence thereof, to understand what is really needed in trying times like the ones we are living now. Also, we hope that this general sentiment can be carried forward and contaminate our attitude towards our environment. There will not be anything to be discussed if the environment becomes permanently poisoned.
And all this could be represented by simple words once written by a famous Portuguese poet named Fernando Pessoa:“Let’s build a new path out of the interruption, out of a fall, a new dance step, out of fear, a new ladder, from a dream, a new bridge, from the search, a new encounter!”