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Skillfully Leading Forward from This New Place

Resilient Sales Leaders Build Resilient Salesforces

By David Yesford

Given the current realities, resilient sales leaders need to mindfully pause and emerge with a proven process to foster a salesforce committed and energized to develop new and sustain current customer relationships using creativity and opportunity to drive results.

In the dizzying swirl of global upheaval, what can you do as a sales leader to lead yourself and your sales team to success in the new “normal”? In light of social distancing and all that it requires, traditional face-to-face access to customers, key stakeholders, and decision-makers is diminished, if not temporarily suspended. With virtual sales fields the new reality, effective sales leadership communication and coaching tactics must adapt.

In this article, we’ll consider the likelihood of your organization surviving or thriving during these challenging times based on:

  • What you tell yourself about change
  • How you deal with and refocus dispersed energy
  • How you lead through change
People often confuse resilience with toughness. Toughness is like a shield against life’s troubles that allows you to continue forward. Resilience is when you allow the troubles to go through you and enter you, changing you, then going forward from this new place.

— Sebastián Lelio, author of Gloria Bell (movie), 2018

Understanding Resilience as a Wave vs. a Shield

Deloitte Insights1 believes that a typical crisis plays out over three time frames:

  1. Respond, in which a company deals with the present situation and manages continuity
  2. Recover, during which a company learns and emerges stronger
  3. Thrive, in which the company prepares for and shapes the “next normal”

Three potential mindsets can occur among employees during change, which have a large impact on your employees’ engagement and energy:

  • We’re in crisis. Can we survive? It feels like it’s only a matter of time. Employee engagement dims and people live in the loss.
  • We’re changing again. Will the changes work? It feels like in-between times. Employee engagement is unpredictable, and people get burned out or put their energy on hold.
  • What is our potential? How good can we get? This feels like opportunity. Employees are fully engaged and committed.
In order to successfully move through organizational change, leaders must first reflect on their own situation and deal with their own concerns as leaders first.

David Yesford

David Yesford, Senior Vice President of Wilson Learning Worldwide Inc. and Managing Director of Wilson Learning APAC, has more than 30 years of experience developing and implementing human performance improvement solutions around the world. He brings valuable experience, strategic direction, and global perspective to his work with clients. Mr. Yesford is an active member of the Wilson Learning Global Executive Board, with current responsibility at a global level. Over the years, he has held strategic roles in our core content areas of sales and leadership, as well as e-learning and strategic consulting. He has also held managing director positions in both China and India.

Mr. Yesford is the contributing author of several books, including Win-Win Selling, Versatile Selling, The Social Styles Handbook, and The Sales Training Book 2. He has also been published in numerous business publications throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America, and Asia Pacific. Mr. Yesford frequently speaks at international conferences and summits, focusing on issues such as sales and sales strategy, leadership, employee and customer engagement, brand, and strategy implementation.