Much to do about the economic times. Rumors of layoffs at the big agencies are percolating in the DC area. Accounts are starting to get cut. Many folks are waiting for the other shoe to drop. But this fear creates more issues than one can imagine, and in some cases can be a self fulfilling prophecy.
I remember the last recession, we had so many telecom clients it required my agency at that time to lay off people in four or five different waves. It was like someone dropped a bomb in the office. Those of us left were shell-shocked, but we pulled out of it.
Though we were disturbed, we kept focused and continued to work. In fact, we worked smarter, focusing our actions on intelligent activities that would make our time valuable.
The big secret was that by getting results we felt better about our own futures and contributions. Attitude — feelings — followed action. Feelings and attitudes, while very powerful, are not facts. Business facts and results get determined by actions. Therefore, in a time like this with headlines like these, it’s even more important to keep moving forward.
In an email to my team this week, I wrote:
This kind of fear can be contagious. Empathy and sympathy are obvious reactions, but we need to guard ourselves from letting this fear into our hearts. We cannot afford it… we need to focus on taking small, actionable steps in the right direction. These right steps will keep our minds focused, deliver results, and maintain positive attitudes.
It’s easy to get fancy with theory and wild campaigns in a time like this, but really survival success is based on executing on the little things. Basic fundamentals make the difference.
Another key aspect of success lies in eliminating busy work, and focusing on actions that deliver meaningful results. Anyone can fill a time sheet with junk, but sooner or later it comes back to the results. And if the results are lacking in a down economy, it’s likely they will be called into question sooner rather than later. That’s why making sure actions are geared towards producing results is even more important now.
For example, if you are a sales executive does it make sense to worry about the next generation brochure or a new contact manager right now? Should you be reinventing the sales PPT template? Or would it make more sense to make some phone calls, attend an events, and schedule meetings with old clients?
Just an old tip for this recession: Mood follows action.