It became apparent to me back in October that I hadn’t become any more intelligent but everyone else had gotten stupid. Regardless of how we will come out of this down cycle there is one thing that we must guard our staff and customers against and that is the air of pessimism that permeates their world. It is up to us to find the good. I am a firm believer that the economy is 80% attitude and 20% manipulation. It is the attitude that we must control in our business environment or we will be destined to become another statistic heard on the C’s and N’s of our media. This is a tall order as they are delivering our staff and customers to us already negative about their day just from watching the morning news shows while they eat their Cheerios. You need to establish a daily discipline of searching through the rubble and find the good news. Good news now comes in the form of “things weren’t as bad as we thought” or an actual positive trend. There are many businesses that are thriving in today’s economy. Look at Apple Computer. Results not only exceeded expectations but were record shattering. Why is it? Have you ever been in an Apple store? The product and the experience is far superior to their competition. Apple products are fashion statements and the experience in the store is nothing short of cult like. I’m sure the information the staff is fed daily is an antidote to all of the ills of the world. Take that approach in your corporate communication. Make sure that ALL of your staff meetings focus on the positives and set a tone of hope and security. Deal with the minutiae on an individual basis. This however is only part of your responsibility. Your customers are being effected as well. It seems that we get our customers close to making the buying decision only to find that the influence that the media is having on them once they leave convinces them not to buy. What can you do short of sequestering your prospects until they sign on the dotted line? Bring out the isolation booth? You need to address all of the negatives in the marketplace that could scare the purchase out of them. Take the fear away from making a decision and instill a fear in NOT making the decision. By building value in your product and your company you remove the risk. Reassure them that you will be in business for the long haul and you will be there to provide excellent customer service. They are fearful that given the numbers of businesses that are shutting down that you may be next. Your staff may feel the same way. Give them the security they need. Take the curse off the sale. Try to avoid the weather forecast while your at it. Why is all weather “Severe”? Think I’ll lay out in the severe weather and work on my tan.