Five Thoughts From The Field: Jonathan Bowman-Perks MBE
Each month, Artemis Partnership’s ‘5 Thoughts from the Field’ will feature executives from a variety of fields to hear their insight on business development, pursuits, secrets to success and more.
About Jonathan Bowman-Perks MBE, Global Leadership Advisor to CEOs & Executive Teams
Jonathan focuses on your personal behaviour and future business results. His vocation has been shaped by his Father’s heroic leadership role modelling and his untimely death, as a British Royal Navy fast jet Pilot. Jonathan’s life calling is to inspire you and your team to: find and live your “True North”, unlock your potential and make a real difference in the world. Jonathan is a Master Certified Coach (MCC), executive team facilitator, motivational speaker, philanthropist and author. As a Key Person of Influence (KPI) he focuses on current and aspiring CEOs, senior executives and their teams in the Corporate, Financial, University, Entrepreneurial and Retail sectors.
1. What are the biggest challenges business development leaders have had to tackle since the pandemic started, and how have they solved them?
Triage: breathing bleeding and shock. Check if your prospect’s business is still alive and breathing. Then next check is it haemorrhaging cash. Finally, are its leaders in total shock and not able to make rational decisions about business development or sales?
Confidence. Confidence is not a show it has to be authentic; built on solid foundations of being comfortable in your own skin. In my British Army Officer Training as an instructor at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst we taught people to have the courage to step forward every day even when they’re also exhausted tired and anxious. Servant leaders care about colleagues and customers. Make it about them not about you. What’s their story?
Eat the Frog - Brian Tracy. On the social media application clubhouse, I heard Brian Tracy talk about breaking difficult challenges down into bite-size chunks and eating the frog first thing in the morning. It’s because that’s the most disgusting thing and after that life becomes easier. Do the difficult tasks first and after that it’s all downhill
Excus-itus. Many people use a global pandemic and a recession as an excuse for inaction inactivity poor performance and failure to step forward and take action. Don’t make excuses. Instead pivot and adjust what you’re doing to a virtual world.
I had some great Virtual Meetings. There is the apocryphal story of two salesman who chatted on zoom. One said I had some great virtual meetings today. The other post then responded: yes, I didn’t sell anything either! You need at least eight interactions and virtual meetings with people on average before you can close the deal. How many meetings have you had so far what connections have you made what interesting information have you provided them with?
2. What do you think lies ahead for business development leaders as firms start to emerge from the pandemic? New challenges? New opportunities?
New Ways of Working – it will be different. Do your SWOT analysis of your strengths weaknesses opportunities and threats to your business development? Do some good virtual brainstorming with your colleagues.
Really know your target audience. Use the virtual world to find everything you can about your target audience: their interests, hobbies, hopes, fears and what keeps them awake at night. Fully occupy their physiology and their lives - in your mind and see it from their point of view. DO their SWOT analysis for them. What are their challenges what are their opportunities?
Opportunities in the roaring 20s. Some sectors have done well in the pandemic and have got so much extra business they are overwhelmed by it. Others have hit a brick wall, but the demand will come soaring back when the brakes are taken off and people can meet face-to-face. So be ready for the pent-up demand in those areas and what could be like the roaring 1920s of people living life to the full.
Rule of three. Pick the right moment to commit yourself. In my training at the army staff college we studied WW2 German manoeuvre warfare tactics. They always worked on the rule of three. Firstly, your ME your Main Effort: where you put your best resources, people and focus. Then the secondary and finally tertiary efforts in reducing priority. If your main effort against the opposition is blocked and cannot make headway, then switch your effort to either of the other two and make them the new main effort.
3. It must be particularly difficult to coach or mentor the sales team in this environment. How are leaders handling it?
In my inspiring leadership podcast that I run each week I interviewed a CEO who is a great coach and mentor to her own sales team. This was the advice from Pamela Hackett CEO of global operations management consulting firm Proudfoot.
Top Tip: 1-5-30 She recommends you check in with your team once a day (1) - quick hi, in more detail once a week (5) for about 30 mins how their week went. Then once a month (30) chat for an hour for more detail on how their job and life is going - a more meaningful conversation. Get in that rhythm to check in rather than checking up.
4. It must be equally difficult for sales teams to maintain high quality contact with key accounts and prospects. What’s been working? What hasn’t been working?
Relationships. It’s all about the quality of your relationships. How good were you in building relationships when it was calm, long before the storm hit? If those relationships are built on sound foundations, they will not rock, stagger, and crumble, but they will withstand a pandemic and a recession. Build relationship now for further troubled times ahead.
Top Up Your Emotional Bank Accounts. Commit and invest in emotional bank accounts with individual clients.
Patience. Patience is a great quality. Whilst your clients may not have the cash flow to work with you right now, they will do in some future moment. They need to know you’ll be there for them in the tough and barren times for when that sunnier moment comes. So, actually you have to work harder than ever to keep relationships trusting and warm right now.
5. How can leaders best handle burnout? That of their teams and their own?
I’ve seen a lot of burnout; I’ve spoken to people sectioned in mental asylums. I’ve held back and reassured people close to taking their own life. I’ve recommended all take CBT therapy and get additional help.
Personally, I’ve even been seriously depressed and had suicidal thoughts myself; when the impact of the pandemic and the recession hit my own business very hard.
So, from personal experience and from the advice I’ve given others these tips will prevent burnout and help mental health for individuals and teams:
Set clear boundaries. You’re working from home and it can be easy to merge your work into your home life and end up with no Homelife and a very estranged and highly strained family.
Rituals, routines and habits. The book Atomic Habits by James clear is great. Habit-stack your positive habits and use an app like Todoist to record daily habits. Build up the AM book ends and the PM bookends that lead to good sleep in between.
Sufficient Sleep. Ensure you get 7 to 8 hours good sleep every night. Also treat yourself to 20 minutes of a power nap around about 1 o’clock each day. Sleep is the basis of good mental health; sacrifice it at your peril.
Daily routines. Mine habit is waking up to the audio book Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday followed by 10 to 20 minutes of Headspace App doing mindfulness and meditation. Follow that by 30 minutes alternating between yoga and HIIT high intensity interval training with weights.
Walking meetings. Whenever you can, get away from Zoom/ Teams, go for a walk particularly with a good headset and Bose noise cancelling headphones. Get the other person on the virtual call to be walking as well wherever in the world they are. “It is only Ideas gained from walking that have any worth.” (Nietzsche). Take a walk.
Happiness rather than success. The Philosophical truism is: Success is getting what you want; happiness is wanting what you already have. Be more present with your friends, your family, your home, the simple possessions you already have and stop clamouring for more stuff.
Here or there? Stress is a direct result of being here yet wanting to be there. Be here now.