Get Busy: Responding to the Crazy Week That Was
It's Saturday morning and I am reflecting on this past week. It started off with my sluggish reaction to the time change; moved through a free-fall of personal wealth and ended with overwhelming public health concerns for my company and global community.
I like to talk and write about things that give people “spirit”. What often happens, is that I wind up getting the most spirit out of the exercise. I think today is one of those days.
Force Management has lived through some incredible times. We began on the heels of 9-11, pushed through the crash of 2008 and now find ourselves in the chaos of the Covid-19. Please grant me grace in my following thoughts. I do not want to minimize, exaggerate or compare any of these events. I know they most certainly have personal meaning to you. I don’t want to speak about Covid-19 as if I have some medical expertise, because I do not. It's best that we leave that up to the experts.
Today, my big question to myself is, “So what do I do now?” As I pondered that question, this is where my “spirit” kicked in.
As leaders, I think the first thing we do in times of crisis is to get our arms around our people. We need to ensure that they are safe, informed and confident. Safety and information proved to be the easier topics this week as we listened to the experts. Again, I do not want to minimize anything you, your family or your community are experiencing right now. Our thoughts and prayers are with our brothers and sisters all around the world and in specific communities and populations who are under siege.
So what about confidence? My experience is that confidence is highly related to fear, doubt and action. When fear sets in, doubt rises, actions cease and confidence plummets. I think Dale Carnegie said it best, “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit and think about it. Get busy.”
We are sales professionals, professionals who are committed to understanding customer needs and delivering highly differentiated solutions to solve those needs. Why is it that our customers do not always see us this way? Often when our customers (buyers of goods and services) are surveyed about sellers, they believe we are out of touch. They ask buyers, “What are your biggest challenges with the people that sell to you?’’ For decades, those answers have come back the exact same! The number one response is, “They do not understand my business, my pain, my problems and challenges”. The number two response is, “They do not listen”. We call this situation The Seller Deficit Disorder.
I believe that the best way to be confident right now is to get busy. For sellers, if the above is what we do as professionals, then that is what we must get busy with today. Your job is to understand your customers by listening to them. Get busy! Yes, I understand that many of us have temporarily relocated to our home offices but that has nothing to do with getting busy!
How many of us have picked up the phone and communicated with a customer just to see how they were doing professionally and personally? I spent the entire day on the phone yesterday talking and texting with customers. I wanted them to know that we are with them professionally and personally. The communications were inspiring to me. It is human nature to want to be a part of a community and rely on that community for wisdom and spirit. If you don’t believe me, watch this video of this community in Italy. My good friend, Mauro Trione tells me that, “Every night in Rome people who are quarantined come to their windows and sing to each other.” I have goose bumps just typing those words!
At Force Management we call this, “Gripping Hands”. Who are you gripping hands with right now? Grab your phone, minimize all the news feeds you have open and “grip hands” with your customers and colleagues. Let them know you are thinking about them and ask them if there is anything you can do for them professionally or personally. Don’t “sell me stuff” right now, help me find my way. The “stuff” will come.
Over the next several weeks, our work environments will change. For many, this change has already happened. It comes on the heels of the massive changes in the sports and entertainment industries. Athletes find themselves in unfamiliar positions of having no games to prepare for. I know one thing for sure, the ELITE athletes will get busy! I don’t imagine that Giannias, Elena Delle, Novak, Ashleigh, Lionel or Ada (forgive me if I did not mention your favorite athlete who is sidelined right now, but you get the point) are sitting at home, eating bon bons and watching daytime TV! They all got up this morning with a mindset of being better than they were yesterday. All Elite athletes hone their craft no matter what their circumstances.
Take this rare window of opportunity to separate yourself from the rest of the pack. Assess where you were with your skill, behavior and attitude prior to this week. Ask yourself where you want to be when we all come out on the other side. Get busy!
I highly recommend a movie I just watched called Brian Banks. Banks was a high school football player who was falsely accused of a serious crime. At 16 years old, he was a shoe-in to play in the NFL. He had a full ride scholarship waiting for him at USC. Then his world collapsed and he went to prison. I won’t spoil the movie for you so be sure to watch it. His story is amazing in so many ways. The thing that moved me the most was his attitude while in prison. At first he lost all hope and fell into despair. Then he had a life changing revelation. “The only thing you can control in this world is how you respond to your life.”
We will all have the ability to look back on this time in our life and tell a story. Let your story be a good and uncommon one.