January 21, 2021

After “X” days the impact is undeniable. Day in and out your team goes into an unpredictable environment, one that requires they are resilient, adaptive and resourceful. This may sound like a challenging and fulfilling environment but to a sales veteran it’s a nightmarish ordeal. Never diminish the comfort in knowing the obstacles and objections in advance. Think of it as boxing, when the punches are telegraphed the fight is easy, almost boringly predictable. Predictability lends itself to projections which help define goals and objectives. The predictability that affords consistency has been disrupted by the unorthodox work experience created by the current pandemic. Prolonged uncertainty has a lasting impact …loss of enthusiasm. When we no longer enjoy what we do the likelihood of success decreases exponentially. What was engaging and exciting becomes torturous and frankly annoying. There are several factors that impact enthusiasm, among them is an inability to define success. When the rules of the game have changed how do you know you’ve won? Or if you are playing well? As managers this is the atmosphere you are in and the feelings your employees are battling.

Here is the test, where leaders are separated from managers. The environment may be more hostile but the formula for coaching enthusiasm and facilitating camaraderie remains the same.

  • Transparency
  • Redefine objectives
  • Recognition

Uncertainty wreaks havoc on the mindset of employees. When the position of the organization is not defined water cooler conversation becomes fact. The goal is to eliminate speculation by providing consistent updates and a clear position. Err on the side of overcommunication. Even if the official position is...” I’m not sure where we stand”, don’t sell, inform.

Objectives change, the redefinition of objectives helps employees understand why decisions are made, what they are working toward and how to identify when they fulfilled their objectives. A sales team’s priority may have shifted from acquisition to customer retention. Understanding this allows for employees to know what is valued.

Lastly recognition, to paraphrase Napoleon: It’s amazing what a person will do for a piece of colored ribbon. For this strategy to be effective it’s imperative that you understand the driver for individual employees. Everyone’s “ribbon” is unique. So often we go after a one size fits all solution. Real recognition requires an intimate understanding of each team member. As a leader, taking the time to increase the depth of knowledge as it pertains to each employee’s circumstance will facilitate a new level of mutual respect. Recognition can also come from external sources i.e.; Customers (How is this efficiently done?). The validation recognition provides not only inspires; it also fosters a competitive environment. It is essential your team knows you are paying attention but even more importantly, their work matters.

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