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Action19: Lessons in Business Resiliency

We were fortunate enough to be able to attend and sponsor the first ever Action19 event hosted by our partner Authentic Brand.

The theme of the event was Resiliency. While the speakers aligned their messages to the overall theme, each focused their address on a specific form of resiliency: personal, business/sales, and financial.

Action19 Recap

Personal Resiliency: Cory Hepola

Cory Hepola is currently a radio host for WCCO. Having switched his career from news anchor to radio host recently, Cory focused his keynote address on the perseverance it took to attain his success. Cory broached the subject of failure by discussing his hundreds- maybe even thousands?- of job rejections. He reminded us that we all go through struggles. So why then do we put up walls? Why do we avoid transparency, never talk about getting fired or rejected or criticized, and why is it that we only put the best versions of ourselves out there? We all do it. The point of Cory’s keynote wasn’t an appeal for us to all openly air our dirty laundry, but more so to call to attention that everybody has dirty laundry. Resiliency is found in not letting the struggle stop you from chasing your dreams.

Action19 Recap

One of my favorite parts from Cory’s keynote was his insight into dreams only coming true when you’re ready for them. It’s easy to get frustrated and give up when things aren’t going your way or happening fast enough, but more often than not, things won’t happen until you’re actually ready. The beauty of resiliency is that the more you persevere, the more prepared you’ll be when the universe is ready for you. Know your strengths, weaknesses, values, and purpose, and work toward goals that help facilitate your true character. True character is, after all, what shows itself when times are tough.

Cory was also keen to point out that whatever we do, it’s important to surround ourselves with good people. Allow those people to push you and support you.

Key Resiliency Takeaway:

The message of resiliency we all walked away with from Cory was that Everybody (capital E) fails. When you’re ready for it- actually ready, not just impatient- it will come to you if you’ve persevered through the struggle.

Hiring Resiliency: Mike Frommelt and Mary Nutting

In a dialogue between Mike Frommelt, Visionary & Co-Founder, KeyStone Executive Search and Mary Nutting, Owner, CorTalent & President, NAWBO, we learn about resiliency in recruiting and retaining employees. Mike built on to the adage, “right people, right seats,” by appending “right time.” He implored us to find employees as eager and passionate about your company as you are; the people truly invested in their careers. He continued to say that those people who really understand are the ones who will be all in.

Action19 Recap

Mary built on that idea. She pointed out the importance of hiring people based on the person and their values- people with “stretch skills” (potential). Find out and understand how a candidate’s personal values fit into company values before hiring. This will help ensure a quality fit, somebody more likely to succeed and grow within your company.

Mary also addressed the importance of knowing your business’s needs today. She discussed how occasionally businesses got lost in the goals and forecasts that predict future need. Rather than hiring for that, hire for what you need today. Don’t let your business get ahead of the talent- make sure you have talent for right now.

And then there’s that little matter of compensation. How do you deal with that? Let the market set it. Simple.

Key Resiliency Takeaway:

Resiliency is found through your people. As leaders, it’s critical to empower, inspire, and spend time with them everyday. And as Mike said, you want people’s hands and their hearts to bring your company to the next level. Invest in your people and your reward will be employees who work for you because they want to, not just for the paycheck.

Sales Resiliency: Josh Fedie

Josh Fedie, founder of SalesReach, lit the room with humor as he told us about resiliency in sales. First, smarketing (holla!). Align your sales and marketing teams. Make sure they are working toward the same goals and that you practice sales enablement, and are ensuring your sales team has all of the marketing material they need. Then, make sure you have the right tools – sales acceleration- to speed up your deals.

The modern buyer will be searching for you. It’s important to know, as Josh taught us, that every touchpoint in the sales process matters. Therefore, ABB + ABS. Always Be Branded & Always Be Selling! Always make sure you align your actions with your mission and vision. When your brand shines through, people will always work with people they like. Forever and ever.

Another knowledge bomb Josh dropped was to do video. Now. Like, right now. 90% of consumers said video helped them make a purchasing decision. Use video in your marketing and in your sales process as video enables your salespeople to be very personal. At every turn, you should be enabling your people.

Action19 Recap

Empower your employees. Let them know they bring value to the organization. Those employee brand ambassadors will create custom brand ambassadors, and that’s where revenue resilience truly lies.

Key Resiliency Takeaway:

Resilient sales teams are the product of resilient smarketing teams. An aligned smarketing team can help you empower every person in the company. Always be branded, and always be selling.

Financial Resiliency: Panel

The last session of the Action19 mini-conference was an expert panel discussing the topic of financial resiliency. Andy Schornack, President & CEO of  Flagship Bank Minnesota, Heide Olson CEO of All In One Accounting, Inc, Amy Langer Co-Founder of Salo LLC, and Aric Bandy President of Agosto.

The question ‘what should you do to prepare for a recession?’ was the first to be posed to the panel. Make sure your balance sheet is structured properly and that you have liquidity in assets. Develop good cash management in good times. And protect your people. While this wasn’t a continuation of the retention discussion from earlier in the day, treating your people as your greatest asset was a constant theme through the financial resiliency advice.

Action19 Recap

Additionally, we heard from Heide not to let your guard down when things are good. Always know where you are financially and don’t just have a plan B. Also know what triggers to be aware of that might indicate the need to switch to B. Furthermore, focus on process, people, and diversifying appropriately to make it through the next downturn. Invest in technology while you can, too.

Another question the group tackled was “As you head into a downturn, what happens when you ratchet back sales & marketing?” We’re going to take just *a little* liberty and say that the resounding answer was “bad things.” But really, panel members told about how when they cut back on marketing was when competitors were able to come out ahead. Additionally, they mentioned that it took a long time to catch back up to where they had been. Even in downturns, there is opportunity if you have the right team and are well positioned to take advantage. Find out why your employees and clients are working with you and do more of that.

Key Resiliency Takeaway:

As mentioned, supporting people was a large part of this financial discussion. Be resilient by creating an empowering environment where employees know they are valued.

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*Photo credits to Authentic Brand

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