The A B C S of Opportunity in a “New Normal” for Direct Marketing Leaders to Offer Hope Moving Forward to those you Serve and Lead. By Dr. John Hackett, Ed.D.

These are certainly unprecedented times.

Unlike other times of crisis in our history, this enemy is unseen. It Is not  Japenese Planes attacking Pearl Harbor or hijacked planes crashing into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center or the Stock Market crash in 2008. It is a strange-looking Virus called COVID 19, and it is deadly and can spread quickly.

Many of your prospects, team members, and customers have had their lives interrupted and are stretched and anxious. In times of stress, people and organizations react to threats by Flight or Freeze or Fight. Flight or Freeze stops life and creates a loss of hope. It is a leader’s job to provide forward movement and hope. In all the events noted above, leadership provided hope, building a way forward of new opportunities,” a New Normal.”In this time of crisis, the leaders who can show hope and forward movement will come out of the time stronger.

Leaders who do not show hope and forward movement will see their organizations become weaker.

The organizations and relationships that will survive and thrive when this pandemic is gone will be led by Men and Women who choose to lead to offering those they serve and lead hope moving forward using the ABCs.

Hope is the belief in working through the crisis to a better future. Consider this acronym for a leadership mindset of HOPE


O-Others we serve and lead with their

P-Perspective to move forward


Using this mindset, the leader implements an intentional plan, the develop the hope to move forward.

A -Act in appreciation and forward movement

The leader shows appreciation for prospects, team members, and customers by intentionally checking in. Thanking others, checking in with them, and offering encouragement helps others’ perspectives. This practice can lead to others modeling the leader’s behavior. A small hint, Aprecuattion, and encouragement energize the giver and receiver.

B- Behave in the belief of the future.

The leader in any contact encourages us to see the future. This isn’t Pollyanna optimism. It will be perfect tomorrow it is as  James Stockdale the longest-serving, highest-ranking POW of the Vietnam war said maintain faith. Make this belief a part of every discussion.

C-Commit to connect and communicate with curiosity and creativity.

People who react to stress with fight or flight will isolate and see no hope. You, as a leader by intentionally connecting, have the opportunity to build hope. The leader’s mindset is that virtual team meetings are engagement platforms to build up teams and check in on their new normal as Pat Lencioni says as “Quarenteams.”Virtual meetings can be for business; however they can be for socially connecting while physically distant from team members, customers, and prospects.the leader here has to really focus on communication clues and attending to all involved. The importance of incorporating appreciation and belief is vital. The leader can also address any concerns or questions in private phone calls. The other opportunity of virtual meetings is to allow us to get to know each other in a much different way. The leader can also demonstrate and model caring and respect by allowing time to connect and making sure that people put the devices away to be with those they love.

S- Seek to serve not to sell.

This may seem counterintuitive; however, leaders can look for opportunities to serve without being opportunistic. Being of service builds up your relationship’s trust with all you serve and lead. Teddy Roosevelt said it well. “People don’t care what you know until they know that you care”.

Patrick Lencioni, in a LinkedIn article of April 22, 2020, noted, “We as leaders have to be exceedingly human, exceedingly persistent and exceedingly creative. The leader who does this following the ABCs will develop prospects, build strong teams, and keep and grow their customer base. The behaviors of leaders at this time will determine the stories a leader’s team, prospects, and customers tell when COVID 19 is a trivia question.

The question for you is, what stories do you want to be told? Follow the ABCs

Collins, J. (2001) Good to Great. New York, NY, HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Lencioni, P. (2020) Emerge  20 Virtual conference

Maxwell, J.(2019) Leadershift. Harper Collins Leadership, Harper -Collins, New York, N.Y.

John Hackett
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