The “Collective Psyche” & Your Business

On CNBC yesterday the commentators talked about the “Collective Psyche” and how important it is to the performance of the stock market.

They mentioned things that are good for that psyche – corporate profits, business confidence, low unemployment and a favorable regulatory climate.

And things that are bad – the government shutdown, interest rate hikes, and recession fears.

As I listened, I thought about how easy it can be to just cut through all this noise and focus on growing our companies.

We just need to do one simple thing.

Simply envelop our companies in a sturdy bubble that blocks out all of the “outside anxiety” that does not serve our business goals.

For many business people, this is easy to do.

They are blessed with a blissful indifference to the wider world, and are naturally consumed by the daily, good work on and for their companies.

Others are more aware of the wider world, but “filter in” only those aspects of it that serve their interests – i.e. adjusting their strategies and tactics to best profit from changing conditions.

And then there are those who take it all in, and with so much media obsession on that which is wrong and bad, can see their their optimism and effectiveness infected by the chatter.

Whichever of these categories we fall into as business leaders, the eclectic mix of people our companies come into contact with, especially prospective customers, are all along this “psychic impact” spectrum.

It reveals itself in the speed of customer buying decisions and pricing sensitivity.

To the degree that customers are comforted by the collective psyche, they buy more quickly and haggle less.

And, as echoed by salespeople’s complaints through the ages, so many deals are lost or delayed because of customer’s fears and anxieties as to an uncertain future.

Now, while there is relatively little we as individuals can do to impact the collective psyche, through a tough minded and daily habit of reframing, we can utilize and leverage almost any outside “mood” to our benefit.

And note well this does not always mean just a pollyanna focus on the positive, as fears and anxieties can be positioned to our business benefit too.

Scarcity is a powerful tool in this regard – i.e. the exhortation to “act now” before things get really bad.

A soft form of nihilism works too – of the genre that life is short, and in the time we are here it is only right to pursue a life of action and courage, and not one of waiting and fear.

Reasons and facts are good weapons too – acknowledging the real macro, marketplace and competitive obstacles we face, but through careful research and analysis effecting strategic and tactical pivots that maximize our probability of success.

In all cases, as business people we must hold ourselves to a higher standard.

Of work ethic, integrity, and attitude.

Staying firm in the belief that almost always the best thing we can do for ourselves, for those closest to us, and for the wider world around us is to just…

…lead and build businesses of lasting profitability and value.

In any and all circumstances and conditions.

The collective psyche be darned.

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