“Sometimes in business you just have to do something that generates results NOW. There’s no time to waste. You need action and something good to happen. Your prosperity depends on it.”
Sometimes in business you just have to do something that generates results NOW. There’s no time to waste. You need action and something good to happen. Your prosperity depends on it. Your very survival may even depend on it.
On some of these occasions, as a leader, this action is all up to you. At other times, it takes a lot people.
When it’s all on you, it’s easier. You know that you have the discipline and the know-how. Both are essential. I remember the early days of Mark Zweig and Associates. Although we appeared to go straight up for our first 13 years in business, we were thinly capitalized (we started with only $1,000) and there were times things got a little scary (like when Bank of New England failed and froze our line of credit, among others!). But I could always get on the phone and quickly generate some cash from either new work with retainers/advance payments or collect something owed to us early. All it took was for me to sit at my desk in the Hogan’s Block building in downtown Natick with my window open, and I would smoke cigarettes (Fred White used to call it my secret weapon when I smoked) and stay on the phone, and lo and behold, good things would happen.
As your business grows and matures, it may get harder. The numbers increase geometrically and you have to enlist the support of others for your business development or collection campaigns. When that is the case, here’s my quick advice:
- Share what is happening and why you need everyone’s help as soon as possible. Don’t be afraid to be honest with your people about the situation. They will trust you more as a result.
- Pay attention to those who volunteer to help out. They are telling you a lot about their commitment level and that is a very important thing for you to know about them. These are your best people.
- Make your assignments and track and report the results. Nothing like a little public disclosure to create peer pressure to perform.
- Celebrate your victories and achievements. Make those who come through your “heroes of the day.”
- Set a good example yourself. Don’t try to just be a manager but instead be a doer. And make darn sure your effort and results are as good or better than anyone else’s because that is how you will get their respect.
- After the campaign is done, take a hard look at why you were in a crisis in the first place. What needs to change in the way you do things to avoid this situation in the future?
If you are facing one of these situations right now yourself, see if my advice is helpful. And when the crisis is over, drop me a line to tell us what worked and didn’t work for you. We can all learn from each other!
Mark Zweig is Zweig Group’s chairman and founder. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.