Houston Strategy Forum

Ask a business owner what are the top challenges he or she is facing today and one of the answers is likely to be uncertainty — about government regulations, about the global economy, and now even about the US' credit rating.

Jim Dumler is senior vice president for strategic planning at CenterPoint Energy.

"The uncertainty around key topics like the financial markets, like the ramifications that that may have for customers and consumers, makes it even more important to give your employees the tools so they can manage contingencies in that environment. Otherwise, it's very difficult to be responsive."

Dumler addressed this month's session of the Houston Strategy Forum, a business leadership group founded by management consultant Ravi Kathuria.

"The economic cycles are coming at us faster and they're becoming larger in amplitude. So we should expect this level of change."

The problem is that without some degree of stability, companies are reluctant to hire new employees or invest in new equipment. With many business owners uncertain about such basic matters, it's that much more difficult to keep the recovery from sputtering.

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