I appreciate that’s a bold statement so let me give it some context.

One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given was to focus on what you can affect.

When it comes to the ‘B’ word, none of us know what will happen as a result of whatever is finally agreed. One of the main reasons for that is no-one knows what that agreement will even look like at present, least of all those who are supposed to be negotiating it.

There is, however, something we do all know. Between now and then there will be even more uncertainty, and there is a high likelihood that uncertainty will continue after 31st October.

People hate uncertainty. Especially this type of uncertainty. They worry about job security, interest rates, what impact it will have on the housing market and a long list of other things.

As an employer, uncertainty in the workforce means higher staff turnover (worryingly, it’s often the best employees who move) and reduced productivity as morale drops.

There are undoubtedly a whole host of potential issues that need consideration, but I am convinced that the companies that will prosper next year will have two elements totally nailed:

They will have a sales team who are absolutely at the top of their game.

They will have managers, at all levels, who engage with their employees and proactively talk to them about motivation, performance and purpose.

I’d love to claim that I’m making some sort of amazing revelation with these statements, but I’m not. There are statistics which have been around for years that support what I’m saying, but the current climate means the consequences of ignoring them are greater than at any time in recent history.

This is definitely one area where businesses should be looking to the sporting world as an example of how to approach the challenges ahead.

In the build up to each game, sports teams will analyse every element of performance in order to get as close as possible to perfection when competing. They have clearly defined structures and methodologies in place for preparation and skills development, which they use as a method of measurement against best practice.

Business should be the same. Define the key elements of best practice, agree them with the team, and then strive towards perfection.

Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.

Vince Lombardi

A fundamental difference between sport and business is the ratio of practice to execution. Sports teams get to practice and work on their skills about 90% of their working time, and execute about 10%. In business, the ratio is invariably 99% to 1% the other way. In fact, all too often, the refinement and development of skills doesn’t take place at all.

This can’t be right.

A change in circumstances means a change in approach, which means a change in skills. Businesses are definitely facing a change in circumstances so they need to get ahead of the game.

There are still more than five months until 31st October. Five months for the businesses that want to keep their best people and have them performing at an optimum level, to define their sales and management best practices, and put in place processes and activities to achieve that goal.

This should be happening anyway. I’m convinced that it’s now impossible to ignore the consequences of failing in these two critical areas as, to do so, will have a detrimental effect on the business for years to come.

To get assistance with defining and implementing sales and management best practice, contact Sporting Difference on 02392 007025 or by email at steve@sportingdifference.com