Business major

How to convert major political or economic changes into great opportunities



Times of great change always bring great opportunity. It is a fundamental rule in business and in life. This is true for any situation of significant change, not only political but also economic or otherwise, whether you like the change or not.

In my work with self-made billionaire entrepreneurs around the world, I have found that most of them share the following mindset:

  • They see everything as an opportunity.
  • They are positive about life in general.
  • They look at everything with the attitude that the glass is almost full. This allows them to find unique opportunities even in the most difficult situations.

The Dalai Lama and total control

I am not a Buddhist but I was fortunate enough to have a private audience with the Dalai Lama many years ago. One thing I learned from him is that we shouldn’t spend our energy on things we can’t change. I learned from Ray Dalio, the American business magnate and self-taught billionaire investor, that all we control in the vagaries of the economy and political shifts is our productivity: that of ourselves, of our teams and our company.

When you face significant economic or political changes that you cannot control, regardless of the nature of the changes, the question you need to ask yourself is: “How can I exploit this change for my benefit and that of my business ? »

Rule of success n°1 for the human being: adaptability

Elon Musk said in an interview, “I tend to approach things from a physical frame. Physics teaches you to reason from first principles rather than by analogy. Let’s review some first principles of major changes in economic or political environments.

The more you can adapt to a new environment, the more successful you will be. It is a fundamental principle of survival that exists not only in nature but also in all human beings. What does this have to do with major political or economic changes? This means that you must first emotionally disassociate yourself from the outcome.

Focus on the answers to the question: “How can my business use this as an opportunity?”

A practical guide to discovering opportunities

Here is a handy step-by-step guide you can use:

Take a blank sheet of paper. Gather a few people on your team who are smart and have different strengths and weaknesses than yours. A quiet room. A minimum of one hour.

First, start thinking about the central question: “what changes will this bring for us and our business?” Remember the key rule of brainstorming: don’t critique anyone’s ideas until you’ve collected at least more than 75 ideas. Everyone should put on their creative hat. We want as many possible changes, good or bad, on our list as possible. Focus on quantity first, not quality. Get as much output as possible.

At first, it may feel like the “wobbly phase,” like you’ve just learned to ride a bike. He may feel uneasy and uncomfortable. Follow the process even if this happens.

Then, in the next phase, we change everyone’s hat to that of the reviewer. The reviewer looks at each change on the list and asks, “Does this change make sense?” Will this change really have an impact on our business? »

The Practical Dreamer

Then put on your glasses of opportunity and those of your team: “How could we take advantage of this?” Become the dreamer who sees the glass almost full. Imagine all the opportunities that could arise from the changes you and your business are facing.

Venture out to look into the future and stretch your team’s imaginative muscles to come up with a list of those opportunities. Or get help from a neutral expert to guide you.

“What steps can we take to allow ourselves to benefit from this change? Or, if you think the new changes may pose a threat to your business, ask yourself and your team, “What actions can we take to avoid or mitigate this threat?” »

Use your imagination to make sophisticated plans for how you will adapt to the situation and move beyond it. Human beings are happiest when they have a plan and a purpose that goes into the future. Adapt to the current situation and plan for a better future.


When you analyze how to exploit this new situation to your advantage, focus on the strengths, those of your teams and your company. Business success always comes from harnessing strengths: “How can we use our natural strengths to harness this change as an opportunity and avoid any danger?” »

I often talk about the importance of trends because trends are the only thing that separates winners from losers, and neglecting trends has always been one of the key elements in the downfall of “famous failures” – the ancient giants of business that are No more. Most businesses and business owners spend too little time analyzing and predicting trends.

Trends are fundamental to your business. One of the advantages my company and I have is that we have a global perspective. If you operate in so many countries at once and interact with so many cultures and economies, you can often see the same trend patterns moving from country to country and around the world. Imagine them as waves sweeping across the globe. If you don’t know what it is, you can easily drown in one of these waves. If you see them coming, you can surf them before your competitors and have a hell of a ride!

Therefore, it should be a general practice for you to regularly analyze trends and their impact on your business: global and local trends. Consider whether new political or economic changes will trigger new trends in your country. Will any of them impact your business? If so, how can you benefit from it?

Warning: only dead fish swim with the river

It’s an old Chinese proverb. It is still true today. As you analyze the results of major new changes to your business and new trends that will emerge, make up your own mind. Many people will talk about the outcome of these changes and their consequences, but unless they are absolute experts, listen with caution.

And if you see or predict a trend or opportunity that no one else sees, even better. You may be on to something! To illustrate my point: did the founders of Airbnb invent the Internet? No. They simply saw an opportunity that was there all along but no one else saw, which is that anyone can be a hotel. They have become well-deserved dollar billionaires.

Focus on massive action

If you follow this step-by-step guide, you and your team will approach significant political or economic changes from a constructive perspective and focus on action. It will also give you a major advantage over your competitors because in times of major change most businesses will sit and wait.

You should not. As Tim Ferris said, “Many missteps have been made by standing still.” Especially if you’re frustrated with the changes, action resolves the frustration more than anything else.

Then take massive action to exploit the opportunities. INQ

Tom Oliver, a “global management guru” (Bloomberg), is the Chairman of the Tom Oliver Group, advisor and trusted advisor to many of the world’s most influential family businesses, mid-sized companies, market leaders and global conglomerates . For more information and inquiries: or by e-mail

[email protected]

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