Lessons Learned – Lessons Applied
On the cusp of the new year, and on what many believe is the turn away from the kind of market conditions that were dominant over the last 15 to 18 months, it is truly a unique time to reflect and capitalize on experiences and lessons. During the last major recession that I had the pleasure of surviving, one of the key lessons I learned was to avoid debt. Before the 1990 – 1991 downturn, I was happy go lucky, was liquid and really didn’t mind carrying a balance on those shinny credit cards. Recession hit, fortunes turned and were amplified by the amount of debt I was carrying. Lesson learned: no more debt. So this time out as I was reading the papers about the rising amount of debt North Americans were carrying, I knew they weren’t talking about me.
This time there were different challenges, and now I am looking to understand what I can learn from this recession that will help me moving forward and during the next meltdown. I know that there will be one or two things I learned this year that I will not be doing anymore, and with that not be held back by them during the next recession.
From a sales perspective the lesson learned is that selectivity is good. It is more important to dance with the right partner than to dance with everyone. Having resisted the call to specialize, and having stuck with working with B2B companies looking to improve the execution of their new business acquisition plans, there is a tendency to lose focus. This is not that bad in fact may be good, during good times, but has some downside during difficult markets. Focus during down times is much more important, and it took me a bit longer than it should have to bring focus to Renbor’s activities. Having said that, once I was able to realize that, and more importantly step back and adjust for it, it made things much more manageable and as a result lucrative. This lesson learned is one that will now pay dividends through the promised recovery, or any condition the market may serve up.
This is a great time to sit down and take a “real” look at what you faced not just in 2009, but since the start of the economic downturn. By examining how you were impacted by the market; how clients and prospects reacted to the same market and your efforts; you should be able to identify significant things that help you overcome your challenges. The key is to understand which can have a lasting and positive impact on your game in both good and questionable markets.
So here is the question to you, what lesson(s) did you learn that you can now leverage in the recovery to gain ground? Share your thoughts, and as usual, we’ll share and award a small prize to a worthy entry.
What’s in Your Pipeline?
BTW, as of next week, New Year, new decade and all, we will be renaming this weekly piece from it’s current name of A Random Walk Up Sales Street, to Sales Exchange.