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Creative Destruction In Action

By Steve McKeeTuesday, March 30, 2010

This week my hometown is abuzz with the news of a pending layoff of some seven hundred public school employees---administrators, aides, and yes, teachers. The dismal economic situation finally caught up to our school district, leaving it with a $43 million shortfall and precious few options.

It's a tragic situation, but it's where we all find ourselves during this most difficult economic period in recent history. Countless private companies have had to lay off valued employees, and there's no reason we should expect government employees to be unaffected.

As painful as it is in the short term,  it also spells opportunity. Those seven hundred people will now energize their interests, talents and creativity in all new ways as they explore their options.  Some will even strike out on their own, leveraging the upside of "creative destruction" to bring to the world something entirely new.

As former U.S. ambassador and author Michael Novak states, "the distinctive, defining difference of the capitalist economy is enterprise: the habit of employing human wit to invent new goods and services, and to discover new and better ways to bring them to the broadest possible public."

Sometimes there's no way around a tragic situation such as this. But there is a way through, and I'm confident that through creativity and enterprise those affected will find it.
By Steve McKeeTuesday, March 30, 2010

Steve McKee is president of McKee Wallwork + Company, and author of When Growth Stalls and Power Branding. A marketing strategist for nearly three decades, Steve has been published or quoted in many top news outlets and industry publications, and writes a monthly marketing column for Businessweek.com.

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