Resilience Without Rest and Recovery: Short-Lived and Futile

Bob Wiesner | October 10, 2017

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Mindset may be the most important skill for employee engagement and success.  Mindset predicts one’s grit, one’s resilience. And resilience is needed now, more than ever, as we are faced with more priorities and fewer resources.

Resilience is also misunderstood.  At least the contributing factors might be.  And that could be leading to even more burnout and poor outcomes.

Nowhere is the need for resilience more apparent than in sales and business development. This is especially true in organizations that frequently enter competitive pitches.  Deadlines are tight. Prospects are demanding. Conditions are changing. Manpower is stretched.

This HBR article lays out the requirements for building resilience with great clarity.  Here’s a very telling quote:

If you really want to build resilience, you can start by strategically stopping.

Rest and recovery are mandatory if you are going to remain resilient.  Without energy and focus, those long hours, deep discussions (or debates), and heavy-duty analyses won’t yield the outcomes you want, even if you think you’re resilient enough to burn the midnight oil.  You won’t be working late because you’ve got grit.  You’ll be doing it because you’re on death march to get it over with.

A lot of this is on us, to the extent we control how we use our own time and energy. But some of it is out of our control.  Our ability to rest, recovery, and rebuild our resilience is limited because our organization sets too many priorities for us.  And, as I’ve said many times before, one of the biggest problems is too many pitches.

Agencies and consultancies which choose to participate in concurrent or back-to-back-to-back pitches are taking huge gambles on the resilience of their people.  Without down time between big events, the resilience of teams can run dry.  They’re just not going to have as much of it with each subsequent project.

There are two ways to handle the potential problem.  You can reduce the number of pitches (always the right place to start), or increase the number of people who are capable of running a major pitch.  With at least two, ideally three, cohesive, competent and enthusiastic pitch teams, you can rotate them so each team has enough rest and recovery time to handle the stresses of the pitch.

This solution might require you to train more people in your shop in sales and pitching skills. Naturally that’s a solution I have a lot of heart for.


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