THE U.S. ECONOMY was finally confirmed in December 2008 to be in a recession. It is probably going to be deeper and longer than we'd like it to be. Executive management of many, if not most, companies in every sector of the economy will be facing hard times in the coming years. This is going to be a new experience for most of the executive management teams who are leading companies today. You would have to reflect back to the early 1980s to have an experience that even approaches the potential of the coming economic slowdown. The last downturn the U.S. experienced was right after the turn of the millennium when the tech bubble burst. Economists told us that was a short and shallow and recession. Capital spending took a sharp turn down, but it was focused on technology investment. Consumers also spent less in 2001 and 2002. But, their spending only slowed; it never contracted. In the main, the economic slowdown in 2001-2002 was relatively mild, except in the technology sector. And in tech land, the services part of the technology sector suffered a vicious and prolonged downturn. Most of the small tech services companies did not survive. The larger companies struggled, downsized, and were damaged, at least temporarily.