How Will Mental Toughness Shape Your Sales Team Post-Covid 19?

A lot of businesses are talking about how they will need an abundance of resilience to get through this time. The reality is, they won’t need resilience, they will need  mental toughness. Please, allow me to explain the difference.

Resilience is about experiencing stress and being able to withstand it or bounce back from it. Whereas  mental toughness, is the ability to go beyond bouncing back, to rise above current circumstances and achieve performance throughout what will surely be periods of pressure and change. I am sure you would agree, this is the time sales teams need exceptional performance, not just withstanding tough times. Indeed, our degree of mental toughness will absolutely define the shape of our leadership, the shape of our culture, and the shape of our business results in a post COVID-19 world.

By word for example, our mental toughness is already defining how we will fair against our competitors. Anxiety is a central peace in this chess game. What will be your next move?

At its core, mental toughness is activated by four driving forces that we can control.

The first driving force in Mental Toughness is having a strong motivational compass. We know that when it comes to achieving high performance, feeling OK is necessary but not enough. High Performance requires an inspiring purpose, a relentless motivation to master skills set and strategy in the context of the present challenge, and commitment to strive for high performance standards. Good is not good enough!

As you think about your sales team, how has their relationship with anxiety impacted their inspiring purpose?

How do sales pressures impact their motivation to master their skills sets and their strategic approach?

How does the reduced effort/reward continuum shape your sales team’s discipline for high standards?

The second driving force is a deeply empowering belief set, one that lifts you up out of anxiety, filling you with inner strength, ensuring you don’t lose faith in your own abilities, and feeling genuinely drawn to positive potential whilst others freeze. 

Again, as you think about your sales team, how has their relationship with anxiety impacted their beliefs and their self-confidence?

Has their perception of potential for success changed? Do they believe they have what it takes to deliver the targets in a post Covid-19 world?

The third powerful force is high functioning emotional intelligence. High performers know how to read the play. They understand their own thought processes, just as they understand their customers anxieties, fears, concerns and aspirations.

What we are seeing with sales teams over the last 10 months is that they are feeling pressure coming at them from all directions. At a time like now, it is understandable how sales reps can lose themselves in a sea of mixed-emotions. However, with their mental toughness fully switched on, sales teams can use emotional intelligence to more accurately read the play, rise above complexity and inspire those around them, including their customers, to see positives and opportunities despite the present circumstances.

The fourth driving force is an elite level of strategic focus. As the path back to doing business unfolds, sales teams need to be able to adjust their focus week by week, and sometimes day by day. It is important they have the competency to rapidly develop strategy, adjust strategy and execute strategy Despite the many ongoing forks and u-turns in the road ahead, rapid re-focus is central to being a high performer. 

As you reflect on your sales team and their current relationship with anxiety, how has stress impacted the quality of their focus? Are they focusing on the right thing at the right time? Are they more mindfully in a state of performance or perhaps more in a state of reacting to anxiety? How does this shape and define their level of performance in their market today?

Let me be clear, I absolutely get it and I understand the mix of emotion, confusion and disarray being felt by many sales teams and their clients. I completely understand their invisible wounds, inflicted by the many unexpected changes forced upon us through COVID-19. Yet, as we repair those invisible wounds, there is clearly an opportunity for businesses to make the smart play to get ahead in their market. Through disruption there is opportunity.

By word and example, your mindset and behaviours are shaping the future of your business today and into the future.

If you are thinking you need resilience, go one better! Activate the four dominant forces of mental toughness and watch as your team lift into their best performance state, confidently leading in a time of uncertainty.

Shaun Harper is the CEO of People-Centric. He has more than 25 years’ HR experience, including over 15 years leading organizational and people transformations, disruptive people strategies, empowering cultures and winning competency development programs. Shaun delivers accelerated growth for organisations by simplifying direction and transforming capabilities. One particular strength Shaun brings to his customers is the real-time, real-scenarios approach. That is, your leaders and teams will always see their learning 'from where they stand today', thus developing immensely inspiring solutions that are put into practice with exceptional impact. People-Centric is a team of training consultants who are passionate and committed to make a difference through powerful people focused programs. We focus on delivering unique brain friendly learning solutions ,which transform people and organisations, create high performance environments and ultimately improve the bottom line.