No one said it would be easy, they just said it would be worth it.
When you look at the greatest leaders throughout history, do you think they were born into a position of strength, influence, and respect? No. They experienced failures, setbacks, and roadblocks countless times. What makes leaders great is not an innate talent, but a relentless drive to improve and persevere. In other words, great leaders have grit. They aren’t defined by failures; they are defined by the lessons they learn from failure and how they move forward.
As we look toward the future and the COVID recovery process, it’s easy to be overwhelmed and discouraged by the economic outlook. The world as we know it has changed, and in the face of economic volatility and uncertainty, successful sales organizations will need to rebuild and redefine themselves. A great leader will look at these unprecedented times with determination and see them as a chance to build a stronger team and create innovative strategy.
What might grit look like in sales leaders over the next year? Gritty leaders will…
- Be innovative during setbacks. Leaders with grit think outside the box and ask, “what can we do differently from our competitors now that things have changed?” Immerse yourself in market research, competitor analysis, and the new needs of prospective clients so you can identify creative and relevant ways to differentiate yourself and add value.
- Be strategic about failures. Great leaders resist the urge to be reactive when things go wrong. McKinsey and Co. recently published an article examining the leadership traits that result in effectively navigating a crisis. The article articulates the importance of harnessing behaviors and mindsets that prevent a leader from overreacting to the events of yesterday and allows them to look clearly towards the future. They are thoughtful about long-term goals and constraints, and they invest time and energy into thinking about what a client may need in the future. Avoid knee jerk reactions to find quick fixes and build a strong, thoughtful plan that benefits both your organization and your clients over the long term.
- Communicate honestly about roadblocks. Strong leaders communicate transparently about problems, and with confidence about the future, inspiring their team to share their vision. To successfully navigate a storm, everyone on the ship needs to know the extent of the storm, the destination, have access to the map, and believe that the journey is possible.
Remember, business and leadership in times of crisis is not glamorous or easy. You are the captain of a ship in a storm, and those who prevail will demonstrate courage, communication, grit, and creativity. Maybe there is something to the slogan keep calm and carry on.
I’ve written about life balance and work/life integration in this newsletter for years. It is not new news. We know it’s important to take care of ourselves, and yet so many of us continue to find ourselves consumed by work, leaving our personal lives neglected. This article is a poignant reminder of why an investment in who we are outside of work is critical to a quality life, and it offers concrete ideas on how you can begin to re-balance the scales and live a more balanced life.
Question to Ponder:
Have you found a new favorite pastime during quarantine that will you continue to enjoy as the world opens up?
As our daily lives have changed many of us are looking to new activities to entertain ourselves. For some it may be reading a new book series, taking up jogging, or planting a garden. Personally, I’ve enjoyed playing Rummikub with my family. I used to play this game as a kid with my grandmother for hours on end. I bought a set for us just as the shelter at home orders were starting in mid-March and it’s been a huge hit! We play several, often intensely competitive, games a day. We’ve also been able to finish teaching my youngest daughter to learn to ride her bike. Without the usual activities to take us away on the weekend, we made time for this and she quickly got off training wheels. We take frequent rides around the neighborhood and it’s been a great way for us to get outside.