We’re all in the same boat

TAKING CONTROL OF CHAOS

We’re all in the same boat

By Anthony Walley, The CONFIDANT Group

I attended two separate financial industry events last week that both took on a similar theme: we’re all in the same boat.

While economists generally try to outshine each others’ crystal ball, no one knows with any certainty what the future holds. What we do know is that, despite the diving economy and few signs of imminent recovery, the playing field is fairly level. In other words, while it may be really tough out there right now, it’s really tough out there for everyone.

A client once told me that he got so sick of his salespeople complaining to him about how hard it was for them to close new deals, he gave them two choices – give up or get tough. You can fall down and cry, or you can roll up your sleeves and look for new opportunities. After all, since everyone else is also struggling, not everyone has the will, skill or resources to fight, so there are bound to be gaps opening up if you look for them.

Having said that, while the landscape may be similar for everyone, it’s also constantly changing. Perhaps the biggest challenge for any company, then, is to understand how to adapt to these changes, and whether or not it has the resources it needs to meet the challenge head on. And by resources I mean people.

As a CEO or decision maker in your company, do you have the inherent talent to weather the storm, or will your ship be guided instead by forces out of your control?

The only way to know that is to look at the data. Acquire detailed scientific insight to the talent inside your business. Not degrees and diplomas on the wall, but human traits such as risk aversion, patience, perseverance, bravery, and social awareness.

Knowing who’s on your team and how they’re likely to perform in the circumstances the business is likely to encounter will better inform the strategies you set. If the best way forward is an aggressive acquisition drive, do you have the people with the personalities to handle what this entails?

The bottom line is that tough times are not an excuse for poor performance. Every day we hear of new companies emerging and established companies succeeding where others have failed. New car sales may be down, real estate may be flatlining, but people are still buying cars and houses. All you need to do is figure out how to get them to buy from you.

Know your strengths and the rest will follow.

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