Lean into 2009

I attended 2008 ICSC Centerbuild in Phoenix last week. Wednesday afternoon I attended a session where ICSC President Mike Kercheval talked about recent store closings being ‘good’ – in the context of weak retailers needing to simply cease, to allow new retail formats in the market. He reminded us that Chico’s started as a young entrepreneurial upstart in a recessionary time. Also that there is $8 trillion ‘on the side line’ waiting to be unleashed, when fear tips to greed. And that time will come.

Following that, a presentation from Andrew Winston who is the author of the book “Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage.” He reminded us that as a society we have been seeing nature as an ‘invader’ to business, and a barrier. That we are ‘too busy’ to be green, or that we simply can’t afford it. He told us that these statements needs to be abolished. It is simply not optional to ignore the power of green thinking.

Together these two speakers are saying we have to be innovative in times like this. And maybe we all need to be thinking somewhere between Al Gore, and T. Boone Pickens. Get down to your core needs. Push for new fundamental beliefs. Get lean, then lean into the recession. It’s kind of like that early morning workout. It will be tough at first, but later you’ll be glad you did it.