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    沒有人比他更懂經濟衰退 |《財富》專訪霍尼韋爾前CEO

    沒有人比他更懂經濟衰退 |《財富》專訪霍尼韋爾前CEO

    Shawn Tully 2020年04月04日
    高德威曾成功帶領霍尼韋爾渡過大衰退内蒙古11选5走势图。關于如何應對新冠病毒危機,聽聽他怎么說内蒙古11选5走势图。

    很少有首席執行官能像高德威(Daivd Cote)一樣成功應對大衰退。如今,他為陷入新冠病毒危機的企業領導者提供經驗之談。

    高德威是霍尼韋爾公司前任董事長兼首席執行官内蒙古11选5走势图,他曾在通用電氣公司工作23年内蒙古11选5走势图,歷任一系列金融、制造和營銷職位,晉升為家電部門負責人。2002年初内蒙古11选5走势图,高德威出任霍尼韋爾首席執行官?;裟犴f爾主營業務是航空航天和特種化學品,與通用電氣合并后舉步維艱内蒙古11选5走势图。2017年3月高德威卸任首席執行官。執掌公司的15年中,霍尼韋爾的股價從22美元升至128美元,市值達到600億美元。

    高德威現年67歲,執掌公司中期成功應對了始于2008年的大衰退内蒙古11选5走势图,帶領霍尼韋爾穩健增長?,F在他擔任Vertiv Holdings的執行主席,Vertiv Holdings是數據中心基礎設施和電力產品生產商内蒙古11选5走势图。

    最近高德威接受了《財富》雜志采訪,恰逢他的新書《現在贏,以后贏》即將出版,他談到了為確蹦诿晒?1选5走势图;裟犴f爾以強大實力走出危機采取的策略,避免犯競爭對手犯過的錯誤,也包括前東家通用電氣犯過的錯内蒙古11选5走势图。

    高德威還曾在所謂的辛普森-鮑爾斯委員會任職,該委員會于2010年召開會議,對遏制美國政府債務和赤字急劇增長大膽提出建議,但遭到國會忽視。本次采訪中内蒙古11选5走势图,高德威就美國脆弱的財政狀況可能影響應對下一輪嚴重衰退發表了鮮明觀點内蒙古11选5走势图。

    以下是高德威采訪節選,為篇幅和簡明起見,本文經過編輯。

    關注領導力,而不是共識

    高德威:總體來說,首席執行官并沒想清楚如何應對經濟衰退。

    令人驚訝的是,領導者也會如此頻繁地驚慌失措内蒙古11选5走势图。驚慌的首席執行官只會呆坐著不知如何是好,然后努力達成共識内蒙古11选5走势图。獨立思考其實比聰明難得。令人驚訝的是内蒙古11选5走势图,很多聰明人并不會獨立思考,只是非常了解別人的想法。

    2019年高德威出席一場會議内蒙古11选5走势图内蒙古11选5走势图。高德威曾帶領霍尼韋爾成功度過大衰退。圖片來源:Christinne Muschi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

    身處危機中内蒙古11选5走势图,我總是想起魯德亞德·吉卜林著名的詩《如果》,詩的開頭是“如果你能在所有人失去理智時保持清醒”,很多領導者在艱難時期只會尋求共識。他們的想法是,如果所有人想法一致,就能降低做錯事的風險。為了贏得認可而不斷做出讓步,讓所有人都參與,其實錯誤至極。重要的是向所有人征求反饋,然后做出正確的決定。與其浪費時間尋求眾人同意的解決方案内蒙古11选5走势图,不如用說服力來激勵人們執行決定。

    確保收集所有人的意見内蒙古11选5走势图内蒙古11选5走势图,不能只聽喊得最響的人

    做出明智決定不能僅憑直覺,不理會團隊的意見内蒙古11选5走势图。管理者和領導者的區別在于管理者執行,領導者要收集事實和意見并做出決定。有些領導者喜歡根據自身感受做出武斷決定,但僅憑直覺并不一定明智内蒙古11选5走势图。要花時間跟人們相處,像馬賽克一樣拼出全景,真實情況不會像畫一樣漂亮,也不會像素描一樣簡略,卻能告訴你具體發生了什么。

    不是所有員工愿意公開講話。有內向的人,也有外向的人,外向的人總在揮著手内蒙古11选5走势图,好像在喊:“來問我??内蒙古11选5走势图!”

    我的經驗是要去找安靜的人。讓他們說話就是賦予他們權力内蒙古11选5走势图。我總會確保房間里每個人都有講話的機會,“喬治,你覺得怎么樣?”喬伊斯,你這么想?”突然之間,保持沉默的人說起話來感覺更自由。非常內向又聰明的人在別人說話時不會露出任何表情内蒙古11选5走势图。沒法知道他在想什么内蒙古11选5走势图内蒙古11选5走势图。但只要問起觀點,他會提供非常有用的事實和思考過程。人與人的參與方式各有不同。如果意識不到這一點,只聽愛表達意見的人内蒙古11选5走势图,可能會做出錯誤的決定。

    抱最大的希望,做最壞的打算

    展望未來時内蒙古11选5走势图,特別是在經濟衰退時期,太多領導者傾向于依賴我說過的“找希望”,即研究可能發生的一切后選擇相信最積極的前景。我的信條是抱的最大的希望内蒙古11选5走势图,做最壞的打算。設想會發生什么最壞的情況,然后做好計劃并開始執行。如果依賴“找希望”内蒙古11选5走势图,六個月后要是出現最壞的情況,你會想:“真希望當時按照最差情況選擇策略?!卑凑兆罾щy的情況制定成功藍圖不僅有助于度過危機,也能幫公司應付很多麻煩。領導者總是不愿相信事情會像有些人說的一樣糟糕,直到為時已晚。

    經濟衰退中,最重要的事跟經濟強勁時一樣:照顧好客戶??蛻魰浀媒洕兔詴r期得到的善待。如果不能按承諾交付或推出新產品和服務,將影響全公司和員工。要先照顧好客戶,再考慮對員工和投資者的影響。不過盡管從財務上來看客戶第一内蒙古11选5走势图,保障員工的健康和安全也很重要,遇上冠狀病毒爆發等危機更是重中之重。

    在動蕩時期,繼續為未來投資也至關重要。經濟衰退中最先削減的支出通常是新產品投資。但只有推出新產品才能讓公司不斷成長且充滿活力,應該得到保護?内蒙古11选5走势图;裟犴f爾之所以能安然度過大衰退内蒙古11选5走势图,就是因為我們一直在投資。

    衰退期間多考慮經濟復蘇

    深陷經濟衰退的深淵中,大多數人不想考慮未來。他們實在太沮喪,只想挺過本周。人們變得短視内蒙古11选5走势图,不愿考慮未來。他們應該問,“經濟復蘇時該怎么做,到時會是什么樣,如何充分利用復蘇的過程?”

    大衰退時期,很多金融界人士和經濟學家都說經濟復蘇將呈L型。經濟增長很緩慢或永遠不會再增長。我的觀點是内蒙古11选5走势图,可能說得沒錯,但很可能不會那么嚴重。當時有位經濟學家說的話讓我心頭一震内蒙古11选5走势图。他的觀點是,你是怎樣步入衰退的内蒙古11选5走势图,就能怎樣走出困境。對我來說内蒙古11选5走势图,這句話很有啟發。

    如果某個業務部門的銷售額在經濟衰退中下降了2%到3%,彌補損失的銷售額時可能以2%到3%的速度增長内蒙古11选5走势图。此等規模的反彈并不難。如果某個部門的收入下降幅度達25%内蒙古11选5走势图,規劃未來就有很大問題。之前那位經濟學家提到的規則在此也適用内蒙古11选5走势图??梢灶A測業務將以“V”型大幅回升。如果降幅達25%,這已經是棘手的問題,但在復蘇過程中内蒙古11选5走势图,為了彌補之前損失的銷售額要達到33%的增長,這也不是容易應付的情況。

    在霍尼韋爾,業務降幅曾達到30%到40%。所以金融危機期間,我們的想法與別人不一樣内蒙古11选5走势图。我們假設業務會出現V型復蘇,并計劃如何適應内蒙古11选5走势图。設想是,如果下跌是V型,那么回升也會是V型。航空零部件業務中,2008年大衰退開始時銷售額立即下降了25%内蒙古11选5走势图。商業建設方面降幅小得多,所以正如我們計劃的一樣,漲幅也沒達到10%。

    所以,我們必須制定兩套計劃。首先盡可能降低成本以度過衰退。第二,確保戰略性地削減開支,最大限度地增強復蘇期的實力。

    休假比裁員強

    來看看如何以不同的方式處理兩類費用,人工和材料。根據業務是逐漸下滑還是意味著V型復蘇即將到來的急劇下滑,處理的方式也各有不同。員工方面,我們很少裁員内蒙古11选5走势图,也沒減薪。主要的措施是休假。航空零部件等業務大幅下滑時,我們要求員工每季度在家呆一兩周甚至更長時間。受創沒那么嚴重的部門休假可能會少一些。休假相當于減薪,但員工在沒有工作的幾周內可以獲得失業保險。

    為什么用休假代替裁員?因為這種方法很靈活。不用預測經濟衰退多嚴重,可以每周調整成本。裁員需要很多成本,抵消省下的大部分資金,也會影響靈活性内蒙古11选5走势图。根據《勞工調適與再培訓通知法案》和遣散費(一般為每工作一年加一周),裁員會導致六個月不包括福利的費用内蒙古11选5走势图。要節省六個月才能覆蓋相關費用。最后還得花三到六個月找人填補空缺職位内蒙古11选5走势图,要培訓新人。

    等到開始復蘇,如果公司裁掉了10%的員工,得拼命招聘新人上崗。然而其他公司也在招聘。我很信任行業知識積累。員工掌握很多一線知識,但很多人都離職了,只得培訓新人。極少有公司跟我們用一樣的方式内蒙古11选5走势图。很多公司靠大裁員抑制經濟衰退中的成本内蒙古11选5走势图。通用電氣就是這樣,但我認為沒必要。裁員省下來的錢很少,之后還得在緊縮的勞動力市場中重新招聘。

    關鍵在于我們的員工一直都在霍尼韋爾。休假不是裁員内蒙古11选5走势图,工作崗位還在。等到開始復蘇,員工可以帶著滿身技能返回崗位。我們沒把痛苦甩給10%的人,而是讓所有人分擔比較小的痛苦内蒙古11选5走势图。

    休假還能避免許多公司另一種策略,即全員減薪,比如減10%内蒙古11选5走势图。減薪不符合人性。人們不喜歡做同樣工作收入卻更少内蒙古11选5走势图。他們認為減薪要比休假消極得多。人骨子里就憎恨正常上班但少掙10%内蒙古11选5走势图。

    另一方面内蒙古11选5走势图,大衰退時期我們確實減少了全員福利内蒙古11选5走势图,包括減少管理層的獎金以壓低成本。401(k)養老金減少了50%内蒙古11选5走势图,主要為了避免降低實得工資内蒙古11选5走势图。但經濟復蘇后的幾年里,近90%的削減都成功彌補。

    我在人事方面也犯過錯誤。有幾次内蒙古11选5走势图,某塊業務遭到重創時,業務每個部門都全員休假。我當時的想法是要團結渡過難關,每個人都要平等對待。但有一次,受創業務在印度的部門表現良好,卻也安排了強制休假,他們當然很憤怒内蒙古11选5走势图。我從錯誤中吸取了教訓内蒙古11选5走势图,后來根據不同業務部門的表現調整休假内蒙古11选5走势图。

    多虧休假政策,經濟復蘇開始時員工能全力以赴返回工作内蒙古11选5走势图。比起努力招聘的競爭對手,公司優勢很明顯,因為提升產能速度更快、更平穩内蒙古11选5走势图,能滿足客戶訂單激增。

    不要用樂觀的預測麻痹員工

    作為首席執行官,一定要跟員工坦誠交代當前情況,但不要覺得有必要給出所有答案。千萬不要說“我們預期銷售額下降不超過5%”之類。人們聽到含糊不清的回答摸不清頭腦,然后要求給出明確的答案。他們會想,如果你連現狀持續多久都搞不清,還當什么領導?最好直言不諱,別怕說員工不想聽的話,比如承認根本不知道要休假多少周。

    正確的做法是確保最重要的目標内蒙古11选5走势图,即照顧好客戶的前提下,盡可能將對員工的影響降到最低。如果有人說員工第一客戶第二,就是不顧現實。如果想為員工和投資者創造未來内蒙古11选5走势图,首先要照顧好客戶。下個問題是内蒙古11选5走势图,經濟低迷時期如何分擔投資者和員工的痛苦?

    首席執行官要保持平衡。員工會說内蒙古11选5走势图,現狀很慘,但起碼將來我在這還有工作。最好直截了當,不要弄糖衣炮彈。如果所有人工作更努力收入卻更少,那不是派對内蒙古11选5走势图,而是衰退。

    向供應商提供支持

    2008年初開始,霍尼韋爾的商用飛機、軍用飛機和貨運飛機零配件銷售出現大幅下滑。航空公司飛行時間下降了6%,但霍尼韋爾的零配件訂單下降了25%,因為航空公司使用庫存零配件節省現金内蒙古11选5走势图。業務下滑直接影響到供應商内蒙古11选5走势图,導致產量大幅下降。我們發現訂單減少25%之后,對供應商的訂單減少了40%。生產鏈條里越靠后,問題就越嚴重。

    供應商少了50%的業務。我們認為,隨著經濟復蘇勢頭增強,訂單將大幅回升,零部件銷量將與經濟衰退前持平。要做到的話就得超高速加速。

    如果經濟復蘇了再去找產量縮水50%的供應商,要求一夜之間產量翻番,那是不可能的内蒙古11选5走势图。工廠可能已經關了一半樓層。如果因為訂單下降導致供應商陷入衰退内蒙古11选5走势图,等到我們的客戶開始下訂單時,供應商不可能立刻開工滿足新需求。經濟衰退期間就要認真思考如何解決問題。

    當時我們去找航天零部件供應商,問他們:如果經濟復蘇,現在要付你們多少錢才能確?;謴蜕a時優先拿貨?我們想了解他們最重視什么,然后提供相應的好處,爭取將來的供應。其他人都逃跑時,我們要爭取達成協議。某些情況下,我們還為將來交貨預付款内蒙古11选5走势图。在其他國家,我們買入的量比當時實際需要多,但作為交換要以優惠條件爭取長期合同内蒙古11选5走势图。開會的時候,最應該高興的部門是采購。我拼命催采購人員,我說現在出手買實惠的好時機,去發揮實力吧。他們確實這么做了。

    等復蘇來臨時内蒙古11选5走势图,我們在零部件交貨方面比競爭對手強得多,銷售增長也快得多。

    也許你以為經濟衰退時每家公司都會采取同樣的供應商戰略。實際上很少内蒙古11选5走势图内蒙古11选5走势图。這是我們自己想出來的内蒙古11选5走势图。勞動力方面也一樣。對其他制造商來說内蒙古11选5走势图内蒙古11选5走势图,裁員這種做法簡直根深蒂固内蒙古11选5走势图,已經變成下意識的逃避反應内蒙古11选5走势图。

    最大的儲蓄來源

    所有費用包括付給供應商和工人的錢。但最大一塊也最容易被忽視的成本是所謂的“間接材料”,包括一大堆并不用于制造航空零部件或化學品的產品和服務。包括紙張、打印機内蒙古11选5走势图、拖把和傳單,以及清潔、法律和害蟲防治等服務。聽起來有些小題大做,但這些成本在大衰退之前占到銷售額13%内蒙古11选5走势图。經濟衰退期間,我們將相關負擔削減到7%。如果能讓所有人未雨綢繆減少間接供應和服務,成本下降快得驚人。

    危機中不要拿獎金

    還有個很容易犯的大錯。當時我的做法沒問題内蒙古11选5走势图,但沒做到及時溝通,影響了跟員工分享的善意。2009年初春内蒙古11选5走势图,我發現情況越來越糟内蒙古11选5走势图,于是決定當年不拿獎金。當時我擔心,如果告訴員工會被說規避治理規則,因為嚴格來說獎金是董事會的決定,如果我單方面決定放棄,可能有人說董事會只是個擺設。所以員工問我2009年拿不拿獎金時,我回答說取決于董事會。面臨休假憂心忡忡的員工聽到這個回答可不開心内蒙古11选5走势图,大家都在困境中掙扎,管理者還要拿獎金肯定讓人不快。其實我應該告訴他們,當年不會拿獎金。但我什么也沒說。這是個大錯。

    面對新型冠狀病毒危機内蒙古11选5走势图,我建議現在首席執行官們不要拿獎金。員工希望聽到這樣的消息。如果2009年我早點宣布不要獎金就好了。

    赤字增長的危險

    有時生活中會遇到兩個糟糕的選擇。任務是挑選其中沒那么差的選項。2萬億美元的救助法案方面,我也希望能第三種方案既能刺激經濟又不會大幅增加債務。然而這個選項不存在。當年奧巴馬總統提出經濟刺激法案時,我曾站在前排最中間支持内蒙古11选5走势图,花錢是對的内蒙古11选5走势图。

    盡管如此,面對龐大的赤字和債務,還有新方案增加的負擔,戰勝未來危機所需的力量將遭到削弱。如果10年前美國就采取必要措施抑制福利增長,現在處境會好得多。由于國債規模龐大内蒙古11选5走势图,想從未來的衰退中完全復蘇越來越難。國債規模已然達到21萬億美元,這次還要加上2萬億美元。

    10年后,隨著嬰兒潮一代退休,按當前增速計算内蒙古11选5走势图,債務將達到GDP的130%。下次再想借幾萬億美元,全世界和美聯儲還能買入支持且不產生任何影響的機會能有多大?或許可以指望世界其他國家購買美國國債内蒙古11选5走势图,但大規模救援的可能性不斷降低?,F在美國需要更穩健的資產負債表,才能確保避免災難内蒙古11选5走势图。

    總有一天問題能解決。但兩黨都不會讓步,除非出現巨大的財政沖擊迫使雙方出手。畢竟兩黨都不想告訴老年人要調整當前系統。共和黨和民主黨都在等待影響全國的危機。但誰知道財政大瘟疫何時會到來?我們可以抱最好的希望,但還是做最壞的準備為好。(財富中文網)

    譯者:Feb

    很少有首席執行官能像高德威(Daivd Cote)一樣成功應對大衰退。如今内蒙古11选5走势图,他為陷入新冠病毒危機的企業領導者提供經驗之談。

    高德威是霍尼韋爾公司前任董事長兼首席執行官,他曾在通用電氣公司工作23年,歷任一系列金融、制造和營銷職位,晉升為家電部門負責人内蒙古11选5走势图。2002年初,高德威出任霍尼韋爾首席執行官?内蒙古11选5走势图;裟犴f爾主營業務是航空航天和特種化學品,與通用電氣合并后舉步維艱。2017年3月高德威卸任首席執行官。執掌公司的15年中内蒙古11选5走势图,霍尼韋爾的股價從22美元升至128美元内蒙古11选5走势图,市值達到600億美元。

    高德威現年67歲,執掌公司中期成功應對了始于2008年的大衰退,帶領霍尼韋爾穩健增長?,F在他擔任Vertiv Holdings的執行主席,Vertiv Holdings是數據中心基礎設施和電力產品生產商。

    最近高德威接受了《財富》雜志采訪,恰逢他的新書《現在贏,以后贏》即將出版,他談到了為確?内蒙古11选5走势图;裟犴f爾以強大實力走出危機采取的策略,避免犯競爭對手犯過的錯誤,也包括前東家通用電氣犯過的錯内蒙古11选5走势图。

    高德威還曾在所謂的辛普森-鮑爾斯委員會任職内蒙古11选5走势图,該委員會于2010年召開會議,對遏制美國政府債務和赤字急劇增長大膽提出建議,但遭到國會忽視。本次采訪中,高德威就美國脆弱的財政狀況可能影響應對下一輪嚴重衰退發表了鮮明觀點。

    以下是高德威采訪節選,為篇幅和簡明起見,本文經過編輯内蒙古11选5走势图。

    關注領導力内蒙古11选5走势图,而不是共識

    高德威:總體來說,首席執行官并沒想清楚如何應對經濟衰退。

    令人驚訝的是内蒙古11选5走势图,領導者也會如此頻繁地驚慌失措。驚慌的首席執行官只會呆坐著不知如何是好,然后努力達成共識内蒙古11选5走势图。獨立思考其實比聰明難得。令人驚訝的是,很多聰明人并不會獨立思考,只是非常了解別人的想法内蒙古11选5走势图。

    身處危機中,我總是想起魯德亞德·吉卜林著名的詩《如果》,詩的開頭是“如果你能在所有人失去理智時保持清醒”,很多領導者在艱難時期只會尋求共識。他們的想法是,如果所有人想法一致,就能降低做錯事的風險。為了贏得認可而不斷做出讓步,讓所有人都參與,其實錯誤至極内蒙古11选5走势图。重要的是向所有人征求反饋,然后做出正確的決定。與其浪費時間尋求眾人同意的解決方案内蒙古11选5走势图,不如用說服力來激勵人們執行決定。

    確保收集所有人的意見,不能只聽喊得最響的人

    做出明智決定不能僅憑直覺,不理會團隊的意見。管理者和領導者的區別在于管理者執行,領導者要收集事實和意見并做出決定。有些領導者喜歡根據自身感受做出武斷決定,但僅憑直覺并不一定明智。要花時間跟人們相處内蒙古11选5走势图,像馬賽克一樣拼出全景,真實情況不會像畫一樣漂亮,也不會像素描一樣簡略,卻能告訴你具體發生了什么。

    不是所有員工愿意公開講話内蒙古11选5走势图。有內向的人,也有外向的人,外向的人總在揮著手,好像在喊:“來問我??!”

    我的經驗是要去找安靜的人。讓他們說話就是賦予他們權力。我總會確保房間里每個人都有講話的機會,“喬治,你覺得怎么樣?”喬伊斯,你這么想?”突然之間,保持沉默的人說起話來感覺更自由内蒙古11选5走势图。非常內向又聰明的人在別人說話時不會露出任何表情。沒法知道他在想什么内蒙古11选5走势图。但只要問起觀點,他會提供非常有用的事實和思考過程。人與人的參與方式各有不同。如果意識不到這一點内蒙古11选5走势图,只聽愛表達意見的人,可能會做出錯誤的決定。

    抱最大的希望,做最壞的打算

    展望未來時,特別是在經濟衰退時期内蒙古11选5走势图,太多領導者傾向于依賴我說過的“找希望”内蒙古11选5走势图,即研究可能發生的一切后選擇相信最積極的前景。我的信條是抱的最大的希望,做最壞的打算。設想會發生什么最壞的情況,然后做好計劃并開始執行。如果依賴“找希望”,六個月后要是出現最壞的情況,你會想:“真希望當時按照最差情況選擇策略?内蒙古11选5走势图!卑凑兆罾щy的情況制定成功藍圖不僅有助于度過危機,也能幫公司應付很多麻煩。領導者總是不愿相信事情會像有些人說的一樣糟糕,直到為時已晚。

    經濟衰退中内蒙古11选5走势图,最重要的事跟經濟強勁時一樣:照顧好客戶??蛻魰浀媒洕兔詴r期得到的善待。如果不能按承諾交付或推出新產品和服務,將影響全公司和員工。要先照顧好客戶,再考慮對員工和投資者的影響。不過盡管從財務上來看客戶第一,保障員工的健康和安全也很重要,遇上冠狀病毒爆發等危機更是重中之重。

    在動蕩時期,繼續為未來投資也至關重要。經濟衰退中最先削減的支出通常是新產品投資。但只有推出新產品才能讓公司不斷成長且充滿活力,應該得到保護内蒙古11选5走势图?;裟犴f爾之所以能安然度過大衰退内蒙古11选5走势图,就是因為我們一直在投資。

    衰退期間多考慮經濟復蘇

    深陷經濟衰退的深淵中,大多數人不想考慮未來。他們實在太沮喪内蒙古11选5走势图,只想挺過本周。人們變得短視,不愿考慮未來内蒙古11选5走势图。他們應該問内蒙古11选5走势图,“經濟復蘇時該怎么做内蒙古11选5走势图,到時會是什么樣,如何充分利用復蘇的過程?”

    大衰退時期内蒙古11选5走势图,很多金融界人士和經濟學家都說經濟復蘇將呈L型。經濟增長很緩慢或永遠不會再增長。我的觀點是,可能說得沒錯,但很可能不會那么嚴重。當時有位經濟學家說的話讓我心頭一震内蒙古11选5走势图。他的觀點是,你是怎樣步入衰退的,就能怎樣走出困境。對我來說,這句話很有啟發。

    如果某個業務部門的銷售額在經濟衰退中下降了2%到3%,彌補損失的銷售額時可能以2%到3%的速度增長内蒙古11选5走势图。此等規模的反彈并不難。如果某個部門的收入下降幅度達25%,規劃未來就有很大問題内蒙古11选5走势图内蒙古11选5走势图。之前那位經濟學家提到的規則在此也適用内蒙古11选5走势图??梢灶A測業務將以“V”型大幅回升。如果降幅達25%,這已經是棘手的問題内蒙古11选5走势图,但在復蘇過程中,為了彌補之前損失的銷售額要達到33%的增長内蒙古11选5走势图,這也不是容易應付的情況。

    在霍尼韋爾,業務降幅曾達到30%到40%。所以金融危機期間,我們的想法與別人不一樣内蒙古11选5走势图。我們假設業務會出現V型復蘇,并計劃如何適應。設想是内蒙古11选5走势图,如果下跌是V型内蒙古11选5走势图内蒙古11选5走势图,那么回升也會是V型。航空零部件業務中,2008年大衰退開始時銷售額立即下降了25%内蒙古11选5走势图。商業建設方面降幅小得多,所以正如我們計劃的一樣内蒙古11选5走势图内蒙古11选5走势图,漲幅也沒達到10%内蒙古11选5走势图。

    所以,我們必須制定兩套計劃。首先盡可能降低成本以度過衰退内蒙古11选5走势图。第二,確保戰略性地削減開支,最大限度地增強復蘇期的實力。

    休假比裁員強

    來看看如何以不同的方式處理兩類費用,人工和材料。根據業務是逐漸下滑還是意味著V型復蘇即將到來的急劇下滑,處理的方式也各有不同内蒙古11选5走势图内蒙古11选5走势图。員工方面内蒙古11选5走势图,我們很少裁員,也沒減薪。主要的措施是休假。航空零部件等業務大幅下滑時内蒙古11选5走势图,我們要求員工每季度在家呆一兩周甚至更長時間。受創沒那么嚴重的部門休假可能會少一些。休假相當于減薪,但員工在沒有工作的幾周內可以獲得失業保險。

    為什么用休假代替裁員?因為這種方法很靈活。不用預測經濟衰退多嚴重,可以每周調整成本。裁員需要很多成本内蒙古11选5走势图,抵消省下的大部分資金内蒙古11选5走势图,也會影響靈活性内蒙古11选5走势图。根據《勞工調適與再培訓通知法案》和遣散費(一般為每工作一年加一周),裁員會導致六個月不包括福利的費用。要節省六個月才能覆蓋相關費用。最后還得花三到六個月找人填補空缺職位,要培訓新人。

    等到開始復蘇内蒙古11选5走势图,如果公司裁掉了10%的員工,得拼命招聘新人上崗。然而其他公司也在招聘内蒙古11选5走势图。我很信任行業知識積累。員工掌握很多一線知識内蒙古11选5走势图,但很多人都離職了,只得培訓新人。極少有公司跟我們用一樣的方式。很多公司靠大裁員抑制經濟衰退中的成本。通用電氣就是這樣,但我認為沒必要。裁員省下來的錢很少内蒙古11选5走势图,之后還得在緊縮的勞動力市場中重新招聘内蒙古11选5走势图。

    關鍵在于我們的員工一直都在霍尼韋爾。休假不是裁員,工作崗位還在。等到開始復蘇,員工可以帶著滿身技能返回崗位。我們沒把痛苦甩給10%的人,而是讓所有人分擔比較小的痛苦。

    休假還能避免許多公司另一種策略,即全員減薪,比如減10%。減薪不符合人性。人們不喜歡做同樣工作收入卻更少内蒙古11选5走势图。他們認為減薪要比休假消極得多。人骨子里就憎恨正常上班但少掙10%。

    另一方面内蒙古11选5走势图,大衰退時期我們確實減少了全員福利内蒙古11选5走势图,包括減少管理層的獎金以壓低成本。401(k)養老金減少了50%,主要為了避免降低實得工資内蒙古11选5走势图。但經濟復蘇后的幾年里,近90%的削減都成功彌補。

    我在人事方面也犯過錯誤内蒙古11选5走势图。有幾次,某塊業務遭到重創時内蒙古11选5走势图,業務每個部門都全員休假内蒙古11选5走势图。我當時的想法是要團結渡過難關,每個人都要平等對待内蒙古11选5走势图。但有一次,受創業務在印度的部門表現良好,卻也安排了強制休假,他們當然很憤怒。我從錯誤中吸取了教訓,后來根據不同業務部門的表現調整休假内蒙古11选5走势图。

    多虧休假政策,經濟復蘇開始時員工能全力以赴返回工作。比起努力招聘的競爭對手内蒙古11选5走势图,公司優勢很明顯,因為提升產能速度更快、更平穩,能滿足客戶訂單激增。

    不要用樂觀的預測麻痹員工

    作為首席執行官内蒙古11选5走势图,一定要跟員工坦誠交代當前情況,但不要覺得有必要給出所有答案。千萬不要說“我們預期銷售額下降不超過5%”之類。人們聽到含糊不清的回答摸不清頭腦,然后要求給出明確的答案。他們會想,如果你連現狀持續多久都搞不清,還當什么領導?最好直言不諱,別怕說員工不想聽的話,比如承認根本不知道要休假多少周。

    正確的做法是確保最重要的目標,即照顧好客戶的前提下,盡可能將對員工的影響降到最低。如果有人說員工第一客戶第二,就是不顧現實。如果想為員工和投資者創造未來内蒙古11选5走势图,首先要照顧好客戶内蒙古11选5走势图。下個問題是,經濟低迷時期如何分擔投資者和員工的痛苦内蒙古11选5走势图?

    首席執行官要保持平衡。員工會說,現狀很慘内蒙古11选5走势图,但起碼將來我在這還有工作内蒙古11选5走势图内蒙古11选5走势图。最好直截了當,不要弄糖衣炮彈。如果所有人工作更努力收入卻更少,那不是派對内蒙古11选5走势图,而是衰退内蒙古11选5走势图。

    向供應商提供支持

    2008年初開始,霍尼韋爾的商用飛機、軍用飛機和貨運飛機零配件銷售出現大幅下滑。航空公司飛行時間下降了6%,但霍尼韋爾的零配件訂單下降了25%,因為航空公司使用庫存零配件節省現金。業務下滑直接影響到供應商,導致產量大幅下降内蒙古11选5走势图内蒙古11选5走势图。我們發現訂單減少25%之后,對供應商的訂單減少了40%。生產鏈條里越靠后,問題就越嚴重。

    供應商少了50%的業務。我們認為,隨著經濟復蘇勢頭增強,訂單將大幅回升,零部件銷量將與經濟衰退前持平内蒙古11选5走势图。要做到的話就得超高速加速。

    如果經濟復蘇了再去找產量縮水50%的供應商内蒙古11选5走势图,要求一夜之間產量翻番内蒙古11选5走势图,那是不可能的。工廠可能已經關了一半樓層。如果因為訂單下降導致供應商陷入衰退,等到我們的客戶開始下訂單時,供應商不可能立刻開工滿足新需求。經濟衰退期間就要認真思考如何解決問題。

    當時我們去找航天零部件供應商,問他們:如果經濟復蘇,現在要付你們多少錢才能確?内蒙古11选5走势图;謴蜕a時優先拿貨内蒙古11选5走势图?我們想了解他們最重視什么内蒙古11选5走势图,然后提供相應的好處,爭取將來的供應。其他人都逃跑時内蒙古11选5走势图,我們要爭取達成協議内蒙古11选5走势图。某些情況下,我們還為將來交貨預付款。在其他國家内蒙古11选5走势图,我們買入的量比當時實際需要多,但作為交換要以優惠條件爭取長期合同。開會的時候,最應該高興的部門是采購内蒙古11选5走势图。我拼命催采購人員,我說現在出手買實惠的好時機,去發揮實力吧。他們確實這么做了。

    等復蘇來臨時内蒙古11选5走势图内蒙古11选5走势图,我們在零部件交貨方面比競爭對手強得多内蒙古11选5走势图,銷售增長也快得多内蒙古11选5走势图。

    也許你以為經濟衰退時每家公司都會采取同樣的供應商戰略。實際上很少。這是我們自己想出來的。勞動力方面也一樣。對其他制造商來說内蒙古11选5走势图,裁員這種做法簡直根深蒂固,已經變成下意識的逃避反應。

    最大的儲蓄來源

    所有費用包括付給供應商和工人的錢内蒙古11选5走势图内蒙古11选5走势图。但最大一塊也最容易被忽視的成本是所謂的“間接材料”,包括一大堆并不用于制造航空零部件或化學品的產品和服務。包括紙張、打印機、拖把和傳單内蒙古11选5走势图,以及清潔、法律和害蟲防治等服務。聽起來有些小題大做内蒙古11选5走势图,但這些成本在大衰退之前占到銷售額13%。經濟衰退期間内蒙古11选5走势图,我們將相關負擔削減到7%。如果能讓所有人未雨綢繆減少間接供應和服務内蒙古11选5走势图,成本下降快得驚人。

    危機中不要拿獎金

    還有個很容易犯的大錯。當時我的做法沒問題,但沒做到及時溝通,影響了跟員工分享的善意。2009年初春内蒙古11选5走势图,我發現情況越來越糟,于是決定當年不拿獎金内蒙古11选5走势图。當時我擔心内蒙古11选5走势图,如果告訴員工會被說規避治理規則,因為嚴格來說獎金是董事會的決定,如果我單方面決定放棄,可能有人說董事會只是個擺設内蒙古11选5走势图。所以員工問我2009年拿不拿獎金時,我回答說取決于董事會。面臨休假憂心忡忡的員工聽到這個回答可不開心,大家都在困境中掙扎,管理者還要拿獎金肯定讓人不快内蒙古11选5走势图。其實我應該告訴他們,當年不會拿獎金。但我什么也沒說。這是個大錯。

    面對新型冠狀病毒危機,我建議現在首席執行官們不要拿獎金内蒙古11选5走势图。員工希望聽到這樣的消息内蒙古11选5走势图。如果2009年我早點宣布不要獎金就好了。

    赤字增長的危險

    有時生活中會遇到兩個糟糕的選擇。任務是挑選其中沒那么差的選項。2萬億美元的救助法案方面,我也希望能第三種方案既能刺激經濟又不會大幅增加債務。然而這個選項不存在。當年奧巴馬總統提出經濟刺激法案時内蒙古11选5走势图,我曾站在前排最中間支持,花錢是對的。

    盡管如此,面對龐大的赤字和債務,還有新方案增加的負擔,戰勝未來危機所需的力量將遭到削弱内蒙古11选5走势图。如果10年前美國就采取必要措施抑制福利增長,現在處境會好得多。由于國債規模龐大,想從未來的衰退中完全復蘇越來越難内蒙古11选5走势图。國債規模已然達到21萬億美元内蒙古11选5走势图,這次還要加上2萬億美元内蒙古11选5走势图。

    10年后内蒙古11选5走势图,隨著嬰兒潮一代退休内蒙古11选5走势图,按當前增速計算,債務將達到GDP的130%内蒙古11选5走势图。下次再想借幾萬億美元内蒙古11选5走势图,全世界和美聯儲還能買入支持且不產生任何影響的機會能有多大?或許可以指望世界其他國家購買美國國債,但大規模救援的可能性不斷降低?,F在美國需要更穩健的資產負債表内蒙古11选5走势图,才能確保避免災難。

    總有一天問題能解決。但兩黨都不會讓步,除非出現巨大的財政沖擊迫使雙方出手。畢竟兩黨都不想告訴老年人要調整當前系統。共和黨和民主黨都在等待影響全國的危機。但誰知道財政大瘟疫何時會到來?我們可以抱最好的希望,但還是做最壞的準備為好内蒙古11选5走势图。(財富中文網)

    譯者:Feb

    Few CEOs navigated the Great Recession as skillfully as David Cote. Now he's offering hard-won advice for corporate leaders caught in the tumult of the coronavirus crisis.

    Cote, former chairman and CEO of Honeywell, spent 23 years at General Electric, where he rose through a series of finance, manufacturing, and marketing roles to head the appliance division. In early 2002, Cote became chief of Honeywell, an aerospace and specialty chemicals conglomerate that was reeling in the aftermath of a botched merger with GE. In the 15 years through his retirement as CEO in March 2017, Cote lifted Honeywell's share price from $22 to $128 and created $60 billion in market value.

    Cote, now 67, set Honeywell on a trajectory for robust growth by skillfully navigating the Great Recession that struck in the middle of his tenure. He now serves as executive chairman of Vertiv Holdings, producer of infrastructure and power products for data centers.

    In an interview with Fortune this week, Cote, author of the forthcoming book?Winning Now, Winning Later, talked about the strategies he deployed to ensure that Honeywell would avoid the mistakes of its competitors, including his alma mater, and emerge from the crisis stronger than ever.

    Cote also served on the so-called Simpson-Bowles commission, a panel convened in 2010 that made daring recommendations on curbing the mountainous growth in U.S. government debts and deficits—recommendations that Congress ignored. In this interview, Cote shared strong views about how America's fragile finances may hamper our ability to fight the next deep downturn.

    The following are excerpts from Cote's interview, edited for length and clarity.

    Focus on leadership, not consensus

    DAVID COTE: In general CEOs don't think through the recession playbook well.

    It's surprising how often a leader will panic. A CEO who panics will just sit there, not knowing what to do, and try to build consensus. Independent thinking is a lot more rare than being smart. It's amazing how many smart people you run into who don’t think for themselves; they just have a really good understanding of what other people are thinking.

    In a crisis, I always recall the lines from Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem “If,” which begins, "If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs." Many leaders just seek consensus in tough times. Their view is, if everybody thinks the same thing, it reduces the risk they're doing the wrong thing. It's a big mistake to keep making concessions to win acceptance, to get everyone onboard. What matters is getting feedback from all of your people, and then making the right decision. Instead of wasting time trying to find a solution everyone agrees with, use your powers of persuasion to motivate them to implement the decision.

    Get input from everyone, not just the loudest voices

    Making good decisions doesn't mean relying on your gut and ignoring the views of your team. The difference between a manager and a leader is that a manager implements, while the leader get facts and opinions and makes a decision. Some leaders are very decisive based on what they feel, but relying on your instincts isn't the best way to go. You need to spend time with the people to build a mosaic that's not as pretty as a painting nor as sketchy as a sketch, but tells you what's going on here.

    Not everyone on your staff will openly talk. You'll have introverts and extroverts, and the extroverts will wave their hands as if to shout, "Call on me!"

    What I learned is that you have to call on the quiet folks. When you call on them, it gives them authority. I make sure every single person in the room is pinpointed by me to speak up, "George, what do you think?" "Joyce, what's your point of view?" Suddenly, the people who'd stay silent felt freer to speak. One very introverted, brilliant guy would show no facial expressions when others were talking. You had no idea what he was thinking. Then I'd ask for his viewpoint, and he’d have all these facts and thought processes that were very useful to us. People participate differently. If you don’t realize that, you'll make bad decisions only listening to the people who speak out.

    Hope for the best, plan for the worst

    In looking forward, especially in recession, too many leaders tend to rely on what I call the "Hopecast." That's looking at the panoply of what could occur and picking the outlook that's most positive. My credo is to hope for the best but plan for the worst. Pick a plan and start executing it as if you expect the worst to happen. If you rely on the Hopecast, and six months from now, the worst happens, you'll tell yourself, "I wish I'd picked a worst-case strategy back then. The company would be in a lot better shape today." Setting a blueprint for success in the most difficult scenario doesn't just apply to a crisis, but to any kind of trouble a company faces. Leaders don’t want to believe it will be as bad as some people are saying—until it’s too late.

    The first priority in a recession is the same as in a strong economy: Take care of your customers. Customers remember how they got treated in a downturn. If you don’t deliver as you promised or introduce the new products or services you promised, you’ll hurt the entire company and the workers. The impact on employees and investors comes after customers are taken care of. Although customers come first financially, nothing is more important than safeguarding the health and safety of employees, absolutely the top priority in crises such as the coronavirus outbreak.

    It's also critical in turbulent times to keep investing for the future. Among the first things to get cut in a recession is usually investment in new products. But it's those products that create a growing and vibrant company, and they need to be protected. Honeywell roared out of the Great Recession because we kept investing.

    During a recession, think about the recovery

    Deep in a recession, most people don’t want to think about the future. They're so beaten-down that they're just trying to get through this week. They keep a short-term focus as opposed to thinking about what happens further out. They should be asking, "How can I handle recovery and what will it look like, and how do I capitalize on the recovery?"

    In the Great Recession, a lot of finance guys and economists were saying we'd have an L-shaped recovery. We'll have slow growth or no growth forever. My view was, that may happen, but likely not. I was struck by what an economist said. His view was, the way you go into a downturn is the way you'll come out. To me, that made a huge amount of sense.

    If sales in a business unit fell 2% to 3% going into the recession, it's likely that the business will come out growing at 2% to 3% as it recaptures lost sales. That size bounce-back isn't difficult to handle. The big problem in planning for the future happens when, say, a division's revenues drop 25%. That economist's rule applies there too. You can forecast that business will snap back in a sharp "V." A 25% decline is tough to manage. But the 33% jump in sales in the recovery that simply recoups what you've lost is also hard to manage.

    At Honeywell, we had situations with 30% to 40% declines. So during the financial crisis, we thought differently from the crowd. We assumed we'd have V's out there, and planned on what to do to accommodate those V's. Our assumption was that if it's a V in, it's a V out. In our aerospace spare-parts business, we suffered an immediate 25% drop in sales at the start of the Great Recession in 2008. In commercial construction, we saw a much smaller drop, so as we planned for recovery, we didn't see a 10% increase there.

    Hence, we had to make two sets of plans. First, to reduce costs as much as possible to weather the recession. Second, to ensure that we placed the cuts strategically to maximize our strength entering the recovery.

    Keep workers employed for the rebound

    Let’s look at how we handled the two categories of expenses, labor and materials, in different ways. And we handled them in different ways depending on whether the business declined gradually, or steeply, meaning a V was coming in the recovery. On the worker side, we did very few layoffs and no cuts in salaries. Instead, we relied on furloughs. In the businesses suffering huge declines such as aerospace parts, we told workers to stay home for a week or two a quarter, or even more. In less-stricken areas, it might be less. That amounted to a reduction in pay, but they could get unemployment insurance for the weeks they missed.

    Why did we use furloughs instead of layoffs? The method was flexible. We didn't need to predict how bad the recession would get. We could adjust our costs week by week. Layoffs require a lot of costs that offset most of the savings, and limit flexibility. With the WARN Act and severance (generally one week per year of service) you incur costs with no benefits for six months. It takes you six months of savings to recoup those costs. Your return is the three to six months when you then try hard to hire for all the open positions and have to train new people.

    Now the recovery starts. You've laid off 10% of your people, and now you're scrambling to find workers to replace them. Everyone else is also hiring, too. I'm a believer in the industrial knowledge base. Your people provide that knowledge, and many of them are gone. You need to train the new people. Very few companies used our approach. Instead, they relied on big layoffs to curb costs in a recession. That was the policy at GE, and it never made sense to me. The savings were minimal, and you had to hire people back in a tighter labor market.

    The key was that our people never stopped being Honeywell employees. These weren't layoffs; their jobs were waiting for them. They were waiting to return, skills intact, when the recovery began. Instead of concentrating pain on 10% of our people, we spread lesser pain to everyone.

    I used furloughs to avoid another tactic many companies adopt, cutting pay across the workforce, say by 10%. It denies human nature. People don’t like being paid less for working the same amount. They view pay cuts much more negatively than furloughs. Showing up to work and getting 10% less they view as an abomination to human nature.

    On the other hand, we did use reductions in benefits to everyone, [including reducing] bonuses to all management, to lower costs in the Great Recession. We reduced the 401(k) match by 50%, specifically to avoid reducing take-home pay. But we were able to restore almost 90% of those cuts in the years following the recovery.

    I also made mistakes on the personnel side. A couple of times when a business was hit hard, I'd impose a blanket furlough for every part of that business. The idea was that it's a matter of solidarity, that everyone is being treated equally. But in one case, the division's unit in India was doing fine. They rightfully resented being penalized. I learned from that error and imposed different furloughs, that depended on how each part of a business was faring.

    Thanks to the furlough policy, our employees were ready to spring into action at full force when the recovery began. That gave us a big edge over rivals that struggled to rebuild their workforces, because we raised output much more quickly and smoothly, meeting the surge in orders from customers.

    Don’t patronize employees with sunny predictions

    As a CEO, make sure you talk to employees about what’s happening. But don’t feel the need to give them all the answers. Never say things like, "We fully expect no more than 5% decline in sales." People don’t handle ambiguity well, so they push you for a definite answer. They're thinking, what kind of leader are you if you can’t tell me how long this will last? But being forthright includes telling what they don't want to hear, such as saying you simply don't know how many weeks of furlough are coming.

    The right approach is pledging to do all you can to minimize the impact on employees while we meet the goal that comes first, taking care of customers. Saying employees should come before customers ignores reality. If you want a future for employees and investors, take care of customers first. The next issue is, How do I allocate pain between investors and employees in a downturn?

    The CEO needs to strike a balance. Employees will say, this sucks, but I’ll have a job here in the future. It's better to be direct and not sugarcoat anything. When everyone is working harder for less, you don't call it a party, you call it a recession.

    Make deals to support suppliers

    Starting in early 2008, Honeywell suffered a tremendous decline in sales of spare parts for commercial, military, and freight aircraft. For the airlines, flight hours fell 6%, but the orders for Honeywell's spares dropped 25%, as the carriers used spares in inventory to preserve cash. The fall in business cascaded to suppliers, who faced gigantic reductions in output. Seeing that 25% decline in orders, we reduced our orders to suppliers by 40%. The further down the production chain, the worse the problem became.

    Suppliers were seeing 50% of their businesses disappear. We believed that orders would surge back as the recovery gained traction, so that we'd be selling just as many parts as before the downturn. But to make that happen, we'd have to ramp up at warp speed.

    That couldn't happen if we simply turned to suppliers who'd lowered their production by 50% and now asked them overnight to double production. Half of their factory floors could have shut down. If we let their production crater in the recession, they couldn't possibly scale fast enough for us to meet the new demand when the customers began refilling our order books. We thought hard about how to solve that problem in the middle of the recession.

    We went to our aerospace spares suppliers and asked, What do we need to pay you today to get first dibs on your production when the recovery comes? We tried to figure out what mattered the most to them and provide the carrot so that they'd commit future production to us. We cut deals when everyone else was running away. In some cases, we made payments in advance for future deliveries. In others, we bought more than we needed at the time, but in exchange we secured long-term contracts on good terms. In meetings, I'd say, the only organization that should be happy is the sourcing organization. I pushed the purchasing people like you can't believe, I said now is the time to get great buys, to really show your stuff. And they did.

    When the recovery came, we did much better than our competitors in shipping spares and grew sales a lot faster than they did.

    You’d think every company would pursue that supplier strategy in a recession. But they seldom do. We came up with it on our own. It was the same on the labor side. For other manufacturers, the idea of layoffs was so ingrained, it was a knee-jerk reaction that we shunned.

    The biggest sources of savings

    All costs consist of money paid to suppliers and money paid to workers. But one of the biggest, most overlooked costs is what's called "indirect materials." That category consists of a crazy quilt of products and services that aren't used to make aerospace components or chemicals. It's things like paper, printers, mops, and fliers, and such services as cleaning, legal, and pest control. That sounds like piddling stuff, but it equaled 13% of sales before the Great Recession. During the downturn, we cut that burden to 7%. When you get everyone to batten down the hatches on indirect supplies and services, it's amazing how fast the costs evaporate.

    In a crisis, don’t take a bonus

    Here's another big mistake. It's a case where I did the right thing, but my failure to communicate foiled the goodwill I wanted to share with employees. In the early spring of 2009, I saw that things were really getting ugly. I decided to take a zero bonus for the year. I was worried that if I told our workers, I'd be accused of circumventing our governance rules, since my bonus was technically the board's decision, and the board could be accused of being just a rubber stamp. When workers asked me if I intended to take a bonus for 2009, I'd say that it was up to the board. That was not the answer the audience of worried workers facing furloughs wanted to hear. Employees don't like bonuses for managers when they're suffering. I should have told them that it's my intent to take no bonus for the year. But I just stayed silent. And that was a big mistake.

    I would advise today's CEOs in light of the coronavirus crisis to do the same, and take no bonus. Employees want to hear that from their leaders. I wish I had sent that message earlier in 2009.

    The perils of growing deficits

    Sometimes in life you're presented with two bad options. Your job is to pick the least bad. In the case of the $2 trillion rescue bill, I’d love a third option that stimulates the economy but doesn't require a huge increase in debt. That option doesn't exist. When President Obama proposed his stimulus act, I was front and center supporting it, saying, spend the money.

    Still, our gigantic deficits and debt, and the added burden of the new package, will sap the strength needed to conquer future crises. If the U.S. had done what was needed to curb the growth of entitlements 10 years ago, we'd be in a much better position now. The size of our national debt will make it tougher and tougher to fully recover from future downturns. This time, we're adding $2 trillion to the tab when we're already $21 trillion in debt.

    In 10 years, debt to GDP, at this rate, will explode to 130% as the baby boomers retire. What are the chances we can borrow trillions the next time, and that the world and the Federal Reserve will still support it by purchasing our debt with no ramifications? We can probably count on the rest of the world to buy our Treasuries, but we keep reducing the odds that we can make a big rescue happen. We need a much better balance sheet as insurance that we can escape catastrophes.

    We will someday tackle the problem. But the two parties won't budge until a seismic fiscal shock forces their hand. Neither wants to tell seniors we need to revamp the system. The Republicans and Democrats will wait for a crisis that galvanizes the nation. But who knows when that fiscal pandemic will arrive? We can hope for the best, but it's better to prepare for the worst.

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