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The Green Sheet Online Edition

January 12, 2009 • Issue 09:01:01

Rising above recession: 10 tips

By Curt Hensley
CSH Consulting

One of the things I love about the merchant services industry is its entrepreneurial nature. Bright leaders come up with new ideas and venture out on their own to make them work. But in today's financial climate, it's easy for even the best company owners and their management teams to be fearful about the future.

This article offers 10 strategies for thriving amid turbulent economic times. One of the best ways I've found to implement these strategies and stay on course is to hire a coach who is well-versed in transformational leadership.

Our company has been using Dr. Cleve Stevens from Owl Sight Intentions for some time; his coaching keeps us focused on our responsibility to make a difference with our employees and within the payments community.

    1. Lessen the focus on yourself; concentrate on helping others. Volunteer at a homeless shelter or children's hospital on the weekend, and you realize how great your life really is.

    Focus on helping your employees and coworkers hone their skills. Contributing to others' welfare lessens anxiety about your own life. You become a source of confidence for everyone around you, and your team becomes poised for success.

    2. Refuse to buy into the recessionary mindset. It's impossible to turn on the news and not hear something about the gloomy economic forecast: foreclosures, layoffs, bailouts and corporations collapsing everywhere you turn.

    We've all heard of companies that clean house during the down times. But those who are innovative and aggressive and refuse to play the "recession" game will have the opportunity to do something special.

    3. Focus on relationships; forget about your commodity. Given current economic trends, people are frightened about the viability of their commodities - the products and services they offer. Instead, focus on increasing the depth and power of your relationships.

    How much better would things be if you took your relationships with family, friends, coworkers, employees, suppliers, clients, and prospects to a deeper and more personal level? You can exponentially increase your earning potential by focusing on these relationships.

    4. Set out to create value; don't worry about the sale. Does anyone really like to be sold? When economic times are tight, we hate beingsold even more. In these times, people wantvalue creation and solutions that help them improve their circumstances. The payments indutry is full of value that can help people during a recession. Focus on value creation, and sales will naturally follow.

    5. Be the leader; refuse to beat yourself up. When economic conditions change drastically, it's easy to criticize yourself if your company is not performing the way it did in previous years. But this behavior can be devastating for production. A major key to success is to be gentle with yourself, give yourself credit for your victories and enjoy the ride along the way.

    A true leader will stand up during economic hardships and say, "You don't have the luxury of beating yourself up because too many people rely on you being on your game." An attitude like this is infectious and will lead to many successes.

    6. Focus on today; stop worrying about the future. The future only exists as an idea; it's really an abstraction. You are creating your future through what you accomplish and create each day. Focus on what you can achieve during each 24-hour period rather than think about what you need to accomplish over the next quarter or year.

    If you get the most out of each day, you'll be creating a future you can be very happy with.

    7. Forget the past; focus on current opportunities. It's easy to get lost thinking about how things used to be - what your house and stock portfolio used to be worth, or what heights your business reached in the past. A better strategy is to start using new ideas, new tools, new energies and new resources to create a fresh beginning.

    Don't define yourself by external circumstances. Instead, define yourself by your dreams, ideals, values and operating principles. Opportunities will come to you quickly in a changing economy, so don't become mired in the past. If you are ready when opportunities arise, you can achieve far more than you ever did previously.

    8. Focus on your responses instead of events. When the economy is rolling and business is booming, many people think they are actually in control of the events around them.

    However, this can lead to feelings of defeat and depression when things turn out poorly. People begin to think they have lost their ability to create desired outcomes.

    The most consistently successful people understand they can't control circumstances in the larger environment. And they continually work toward greater control over their creative responses to changing economics.

    With these turbulent times - in which things are so uncertain day to day - comes a perfect opportunity to focus all of your attention and energy on being creatively responsive to unpredictable events that may come your way.

    9. Focus on what is available; forget about what is missing. In times when the economy goes south, many desirable resources are eliminated. Resources like information, knowledge, tools, systems, personnel and capabilities can all be cut. For some companies, these missing components are paralyzing, and their ability to make decisions or take action is crippled.

    A successful strategy here would be to use every readily available resource to its full potential. Focus on achieving small results and positive daily progress. As these small daily victories mount and become bigger wins, your confidence to do more with less will grow rapidly.

    10. Focus on gratitude; leave the complaining to others. When the chips are down and times get tough, each of us has a decision to make - you can complain about the situation or simply be grateful for what you have. Gratitude is the best way to ground yourself in the reality that life is good and that you - and your company - will prevail.

    Complaining attracts negative thoughts, negative actions and negative people. Opportunities will pass by those who are too busy drowning in negativity to see them. Gratitude creates an opportunity for the very best thoughts, actions and outcomes. It is one of the keys to happiness.

As a recruiting firm serving this industry, we are fortunate enough to see the companies that practice these strategies and aren't paralyzed by fear of what might happen. Several companies are aggressively moving forward and taking advantage of new resources that this economy provides.

By following these basic time-tested methods, you can assure your success in good times and bad. You can also have a positive effect on all those around you and create the energy necessary to turn things in a positive direction, even in this recession. end of article

Curt Hensley is the founder, Chief Executive Officer and President of CSH Consulting, a recruiting firm exclusively focused on the payments industry. He and his leadership team have over 50 years of combined experience recruiting in the merchant acquiring arena. They have placed over 1,200 payments industry professionals since their inception eight years ago. Contact Curt at 480-315-8800 or curth@cshconsulting.com.

The Green Sheet Inc. is now a proud affiliate of Bankcard Life, a premier community that provides industry-leading training and resources for payment professionals. Click here for more information.

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