Most business leaders have grown accustomed to the comforting concept of “normal” market conditions. Today, when these leaders talk about the “new normal,” they are usually talking about the anticipated return to something closely resembling previous market conditions – a predictable status quo that will allow them to focus on administering and fine-tuning various elements of the go-to-market strategy. When we think about recovery, we, too, may think about the days when we had a high degree of confidence that our basic assumptions would stand unchallenged.
Charting a path on the roadmap to recovery in the current environment will depend, increasingly, not on skills that brought us success in the past, but on a very different set of capabilities to help us to navigate the future. With that shift in required skillsets and capabilities comes a period of major disruption. There are three shifts that we nearly always see in a sales team during these times:
- Some salespeople will leave of their own accord
- Some will no longer have a role to fulfill in the team and must go
- Some will have to change their responsibilities
Managing these transitions with minimal disruption will be an important priority for sales leaders during the recovery phase. Critical to the successful navigation of this period will be the willingness to address some core questions that are too often overlooked or minimized. For instance:
- How are you currently assessing your people and teams?
- Can your assessment process be improved?
- Do your people possess the requisite traits and skills that will ensure they can be successful in the current market environment?
- Are they both willing and able to do the job you design for them?
Major disruptions have a way of speeding up history. Many of the changes that will happen during the recovery phase would have or should have happened months or even years before the crisis unfolded.
Using this time to assess your team and map out a plan to continuously build the right skill sets, the right attitudes, and the right patterns of behavior in the organization will drive not only marketplace success, but also the development of the next generation of leaders. One of the best and simplest ways to begin tackling the challenge of setting your organization’s strategic direction, and collaboratively pursuing it, is to be ruthlessly honest. Doing this will provide a clear sense of where your organization is right now and where there is room for improvement.