We speak so often about “the economy,” as if it’s this latent beast lurking about that no one can influence or control. And that beast, according to many, unilaterally influences success and failure in myriad ways through all walks of life and industry.


Regardless of how you measure “the economy,” it doesn’t fundamentally “cause” ANYTHING; it merely exists in the background, sort of like the movie “Matrix.” It’s a backdrop for industry, a simple, somewhat undefined engine creating a lot of white noise. And sometimes, distractions.

We hear too often, from both colleagues and clients,” Man! I sure will be happy when ‘this economy’ turns around,” and in response to the ever-present question ‘How’s business?’ we hear ‘not bad, considering the economy.'”

Money is plentiful. Banks have it, private equity folks have it, and even venture capitalists have it. Lots of it. If they aren’t investing, it isn’t because of a lack of financial resources. Earnings are up, the Dow is up, annual reports read like boom-time in the good ol’ U.S. of A.

Nearly every available economic indicator, save employment (which shouldn’t be a big consideration for most of us), says “the economy” is doing pretty darned well. So, then, why are many still using “the economy” as a crutch for failure (or at least mediocre results)?

Now THAT’S a good question. In my opinion, many use it simply because it’s the easiest, most available, fully-understandable excuse for lackluster performance (never waste a good crisis, eh?). Everyone continues to nod their head in reverence when discussing “the economy,” as if a demonstrated lack of respect would unleash the fury of “the economy” on their worlds.

Which, of course, is simply more bunk.

Here comes a profound statement. I figured I would announce it, since much of what I write may be decidedly UN-profound. Here goes: “If anyone in your world is succeeding today, and you are not… IT’S NOT THE ECONOMY!”

Did you get that? If someone in your business, industry, market, locale, etc. is succeeding today, then any use of “the economy” for less than stellar performance is just another cop-out. So, in the immortal words of my doctor, when I tell him that it “hurts when I do this or that…” “Well, STOP DOING THAT.”

Using James Carville’s slogan during the Clinton election campaign (with just a slight modification), “It’s not the economy, stupid!”

But that’s just me…


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