September 1, 2012  

Don’t panic

To Raytheon CEO Bill Swanson for keeping his head when many others are losing theirs over sequestration. His peers and industry allies are not wrong when they say that Congress’ apparent inability to turn off its deficit-control device is stupid and wasteful, but their cries of “employment Armageddon” are overblown and unhelpful, as are their threats to send out formal layoff warnings before any cuts actually happen. Swanson’s stance, on the other hand, is practical and refreshing.

“This is all about not panicking,” said the Raytheon chief, one of the few who was also a senior leader during the last downturn. “This is about both feet on the ground, looking at it and making sure you’re prepared. I realize some bad things will happen to good people out of this thing, but how do you minimize that?”

Swanson’s bottom-line take on the situation: There is danger but also opportunity, “and the smart companies, smart leaders, smart businesspeople know how to take advantage of opportunities.”