Monday, May 18, 2009

Is the Recession Costing You Sleep?

According to survey results published in the Financial Times today (, the recession is costing us not just our money, our savings, and our 401(k)'s. It is also costing us sleep. The average manager is sleeping 19 per cent less than the recommended eight hours a night. Some 40 per cent of those questioned blame the state of the economy for their lack of sleep. If you think the results of your business in this recession is going to cost you sleep, instead of tossing and turning, do the following, and you might sleep a little more and make a little more money:

1. Contact every customer who has purchased from you in the last two years. Tell them you are thankful for their business. Period. This isn't a manipulative, "salesy" conversation -- just reach out.

2. Take care of your top people. You know who they are. The people that your customers mentioned when you called them. The people that you know make you look good. You think it's bad now -- if you lost your top people, it would be worse. Thank them, recognize them, and get to know them.

3. Weed out poor performers. I know I mentioned it in a previous post, but it keeps ringing in my ear: the only thing scarier than top people leaving is bottom people staying. Again, you know who they are -- start coaching and having the conversations immediately.

4. Make sure your leadership team is cohesive. Do team members acknowledge weaknesses to one another? Do team members point out one another's unproductive behaviors? Does the team engage in healthy debate? All these are critical to your success, and success usually begins with the team leader modeling the behavior.

5. In times like these, you cannot afford a single employee who is not operating at full discretionary effort. Are your staff members doing just the minimum to get by? Or are they "going the extra mile"?

Instead of losing sleep and money, take the above steps. Then you can rest easy, knowing your customers love you, your top performers are safely in the fold, the poor performers are on notice, your leadership team is cohesive, and everyone is giving their all.

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