In turbulent financial times such as these, many businesses find that simply maintaining the status quo is challenge enough. But for a far-sighted few, unusual times mean unusual opportunities.

CPE Link instructor Tom Tubergen
, the managing director of Mentoring Success Group LLC, points out that it’s necessary to not shy away from the “issue of gut-wrenching, strategic changes in direction” that can mean the difference between defeat and not only survival, but a flourishing survival.

We find this true in our personal lives as well. The loss of a job, end of a contract, illness of a spouse, college education of a child – the endless fluctuations of life mean that we must constantly be on our guard: watching where we need to retrench, seeing opportunities to expand, looking for ways to improve our lives.

Those who can’t move with the flow and adjust to changing life currents find themselves bogged down, going stagnant. But knowing which current to ride and which to avoid is a challenge.

Tubergen cites the famous Chinese general, Sun Tzu, who observed a timeless truth many centuries ago: “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. But tactics without strategy is simply the noise before defeat.”

Tubergen recalls that just a few years ago, “running a business was relatively straightforward. Buy low. Sell high. Join the local Chamber of Commerce. Carefully manage your expenses. The Internet, and the massive trends toward globalization in recent years changed all of that. Now we’re faced with an overwhelming amount of information about our business environment every day. Competitive threats emerge and disappear daily.”

What to do?

He advocates “leading yourself to lead others” as the perfect starting point. From there, he looks at ways to create the right strategy and manage “disruptive strategic change.” His insights have been put to use by accountants, attorneys, consultants and trade associations to help clients find that competitive advantage.

“Theory is great for academics and college professors,” Tubergen notes. “Where I operate, the rubber’s got to meet the road.”