Focus on Talent – Not Activity
The first step in the process is to take a step back and assess your current workforce and how you are managing in today’s realities. The pressure to produce often results in leaders making the mistake of defaulting to an activity-based strategy (i.e. micromanagement) pushing for more phone calls, more contacts, more requests, more meetings, more More, MORE! In a market like today, the reality is there may be few job or sales orders to secure because they simply…don’t…exist.
Your employees are already scared – don’t make them more scared. Everyone knows sales are down – don’t make the employees responsible for sales that are unattainable. And stop stalking your clients.
We have seen this many times during recessions where managers rely heavily on the activities that historically generate sales. Managers think, “This worked in the past, so we just need to do more of it.” But these are strange times. Obviously, sales and revenue-generating productivity is of top importance, but focusing predominantly on sales when demand has diminished or dried-up simply frustrates clients and, in turn, frustrates employees. Being told to do more or try harder is exhausting and exacerbating to a talented person who knows that effort isn’t the only answer. And you are at risk of permanently damaging your culture.
So what do you do? You need to make changes that reflect the marketplace and ease the burden. You need to change the way you manage/lead/coach to help your employees adapt the way they do their job (which we will explore more in later blogs). And you most likely need to reduce your costs by de-hiring and re-tuning some of your existing workforce with the near and long-term future in mind that poises you for recovery.
This is the time to examine your current employees and determine who you want to bet on for the future. Many companies have grown rapidly and increased hiring in the recent thriving economy. Now is the time to take a step back and use a process to assess those hiring choices. You may have to make difficult decisions to get to the core winning team, but those choices can present you with opportunities to make your human resources more aligned with your company goals and operational strategies.
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