Today’s WSJ carried this front page article (I shared the screenshot because of recent comments that links are not always viewable behind a paywall). The real lead story, buried in the article, is that corporate profits have been higher lately than any other time in our lifetime. That is unsustainable. It can’t stay that way forever.
This trend reminds me of my decision decades ago to retire from collegiate wrestling coaching after a season when we set a number of performance records, including NCAA records, that were not likely to not be repeated again. We were benefiting from so many ‘hot streaks’ and events beyond our own creation that coincidentally came together for us that year. My decision was criticized at the time for ‘baling out’ and not believing that we could hang out in the clouds forever. Sometimes it is important to recognize a peak and resist the human urge to seek ever higher non-normative performance when you are operating in an environment that inherently trends to the norms.
Sure, it is unpopular to point out this mathematically logical truth. Still, the fact remains that our only real choice right now is how we choose to ride out the wave that returns the environment to normal behavioral trends. I am now focused on business plans for myself and my clients that will position us for the return to ‘normal’. My daily actions and client coaching calls now focus on cash flow, cost cutting, alternative sources of labor, and community building.
(My school’s wrestling team, BTW, never recovered to that level of incredible performance but that year’s team when I coached last was recently honored by induction into the university’s Hall of Fame. This was the first time the university indicted an entire team into its Hall of Fame, further supporting the point that this was an exceptionally high point of performance).