Former Honeywell CEO David Cote says the best business owners and CEOs are able to make decisions in the short-term that fortify their companies when recessions come around. In Cote’s experience managing Honeywell for nearly two decades, recessions are part of the business cycle whether they are the result of a global pandemic or a national security emergency or something else entirely.
Now, he cautions business leaders against making decisions without having the right information, support, and time so they can come to the best possible conclusion for the business in both the short-term and long-term.
Quick background: Cote took over Honeywell at a particularly rough point in the company’s history.
In early 2002, he became CEO for the industrial conglomerate, worth $22 billion at his induction.
“The company was underperforming, having struggled in recent years thanks to a botched merger with AlliedSignal in 1999, a couple of CEO transitions, and failed attempts to sell the company to United Technologies Corporation and then to General Electric,” Cote wrote in his book, Winning Now, Winning Later.
Through intensive probing into the company and its operations, Cote discovered a host of problems, which he boiled down to one primary problem: “the company didn’t have good fundamentals,” he wrote.
By the end of Cote’s tenure, Honeywell had grown to a market cap of $120 billion.
Below, Cote explains the fundamentals of effective business decision-making including his maxim of "banishing intellectual laziness," and reveals his tips for gaining confidence in the path you choose for your company or department.