A Publication of WTVP

The economic recession is forcing businesses to rethink
their strategies and retool their processes as they operate in worsening and
ever changing conditions. In the midst of corporate reorganizations, layoffs,
budget cuts and process improvements to create greater efficiencies, most
businesses overlook how fear, and the lack of a clear plan to reduce it, is an
impediment to their success. The fear epidemic perpetuated by the financial
markets, government, ongoing negative media coverage and anxious individuals is
a deliberate assault on our very nature and must be reversed. The constraints
of fear without answers are the catalysts for inaction. Without solutions,
denial sets in as people either begin to think they will not be affected or
simply feel hopeless. Either way, inaction takes place as the body experiences
sensory overload. The adage "stopped in your tracks" holds true here just as a
mouse in a maze becomes immobile with no options for escape.

The Only Thing
We Have to Fear is Fear Without a Plan

Once fear is accepted as reality, it takes rare and powerful
leadership to reverse it. The upside of fear is that it can be harnessed and
used as a powerful motivator to bring people to act. Therefore leaders must
have a clear, viable plan to minimize tension and take bold action now to
challenge and reduce the fear. Corporate leaders can rise to this unique
challenge and transform it into opportunity. Revising FDR’s famous quote to
take human nature into account, "The only thing we have to fear is fear without
a plan.

Reinvest to Renew Confidence

Success starts with reinvestment and a renewed confidence,
demonstrated simultaneously. Layoffs have never been in the equation for growth
or long-term success. One critical way for business leaders to reverse the
trend of fear mongering without solutions is to focus on business development.
Nothing happens in the economic world until money is exchanged, and that occurs
once a sale is made. There are currently phenomenal opportunities to
aggressively acquire unclaimed and available talent.

1.      Allocate
your resources to build the best sales force in your industry and start making
Upgrade your sales force through skills development and headcount.
This sends a very strong message to the organization. It demonstrates that you
are proactively focusing on your company’s future, to which the sales force is
so vital.

2.      Let
your veteran force know the talent and backgrounds of the people you are
bringing in.
This should inspire them. If tenured employees are paralyzed
or jealous about new talent being added to the team, there may be another case
of "tough times" exposing those who don’t have the drive to take advantage of
the current circumstances. They will weed themselves out.

3.      Communicate
clearly and regularly that the down economy is an opportunity for success.
far from an ideal business environment, the recession still offers a rare
opportunity for achievement that your sales team may never have again. This is
a time to dominate and gain market share. Make your message clear so people
recognize this challenge as an opportunity for growth.

4.      Seek
Out New Market Opportunities
: Just as employee layoffs have forced the
unemployed to rethink how their skills can be transferred to new industries,
businesses should deploy the same strategy to grow new markets.

While there are no guarantees in business, these four steps
will instill confidence in your sales force and harness the fear espoused in
the public dialogue by motivating them to act and produce to their potential.
At a time when leadership is needed most, the opportunity to lead is here for
the taking.  iBi

Dirk Gorman’s expertise is in turning around and building
successful sales organizations in the business-to-business space. He is
founding partner of Empire Surgical, a multi-faceted sales solutions company
and exclusive distributor of Depuy Mitek, a leading Johnson & Johnson
sports medical device company.

©Empire Surgical 2009. Reprinted with permission.