OK, we get it: It’s bad and we know it. More than 7.2 million jobs have been lost since the beginning of this recession. The average growth rate in annual earnings has dipped to 2.5%. With a steady news diet of layoffs, price increases, and other issues, it’s easy to turn into a corporate Cowardly Lion. Even in the best of times, we leaders face one challenge after another. But we also have the power to change the game – if we stay in it. Riding the storm out is not always easy, but it’s the most attractive option. So….let’s talk about some things we can do in the meantime to turn your game around:
Learn the “why” behind the “what”. Find out exactly why things are going the way they are. What’s important to your company? What are you focusing your time and thoughts on?
Touch the troops. Communicate with the people who make it happen. Take time for one-on-one feedback from your sales and customer service staff. What are their challenges? What can you do to make their job easier? Do they feel overworked and underappreciated? What is their feedback about your customers? If customers are leaving, do they indicate why? Why do they stay? Are they staying until they find an alternative?
Thank your customers. Don’t stop reaching out to your existing customers. Think of innovative ways to express your thanks that fall within company guidelines. Be versatile – no one idea will reach everyone. What do they think about your product or service’s quality and customer service? People will likely stick with a company if they perceive quality customer service.
Shake things up – then calm things down. Make courageous, informed decisions. Face the hard tasks head on. If conditions require you to make budget or personnel cuts, reassure and encourage the people you have left.
Take a moratorium on bad news. Famed communicator Mark Victor Hansen (www.MarkVictorHansen.com) states, “For the next thirty days, look, act, think, walk and smell as if business is booming – and it will.” Fear is infectious. So is excitement! When you consistently adopt a spirit of enthusiasm in the face of adversity, success is inevitable.
Even in this sobering economic climate, we can make progress toward a more positive outcome. Those of us who have been here before know the timeless truth from Zig Ziglar (www.ZigZiglar.com): Tough times never last, but tough people do!