The Power of Resilience
The road from the implementation of your exhibit plan and the secret of its successful execution is long and precarious. It can be filled with setbacks. The difference between the successful exhibit managers and their staff and those who fail is their ability to work through the setbacks and come out victorious. Easy to say and tough to do unless you have harnessed the skill of resilience. Yes, resilience is a skill that anyone can learn.
Diane Coutu, a senior editor at the Harvard Business Review, in her article, “How Resilience Works,” identifies three characteristics of resilience: See the world as it really is, find meaning, and be ingenious. Let’s look at each;
See the world as it really is
The world is filled with optimists who focus on the positive, pessimists who focus on the negative and the realists who are somewhere in between. Which is correct? The answer is that all three have a place in the greater scheme of things. The trick is to combine all perspectives for a clearer picture of reality. While your booth staff are sitting around complaining about a slow traffic period, they are focusing on the negative only. A positive aspect is that the slow time gives them a chance to catch their breath after a busy period or an opportunity to get out of their booth and visit other exhibits.
Viktor Frankl, holocaust survivor and psychologist identified three sources for meaning in one’s life: work, love, and courage. In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Frankl went on to write that even when forces beyond your control take away everything, there is always one thing left—your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation. When contractors fail to do what they promised or your collateral materials do not arrive on time instead of wallowing in self-doubt and recriminations ask yourself this question, “What can I learn from this obstacle?” There are always powerful lessons you can learn to turn your setbacks into meaningful lessons.
Being ingenious, for most of us, means looking at things with new eyes to see what is often lying right before us. Nineteenth century philosopher Bernard Baruch wrote, “Millions saw the apple fall but Newton asked why.”
Try this exercise. Make a list of everything that can go wrong with your exhibit plan for you and your booth people. It’s an eye-opener. Your list can often be overwhelming. But if you create the list before you are actually faced with the setback then you can develop strategies that will minimize the effect. Get you staff involved with this list. It’s is always amazing how much more powerful many heads are than just one.
If you can help yourself and your staff understand how to handle setbacks by seeing the world as it really is, find meaning when you experience obstacles and become ingenious by asking questions, you have taken an important step in the direction of show success.
Barry Siskind is an internationally recognized trade and consumer show expert. He is author of six bestselling business books including Powerful Exhibit Marketing. Watch for his newest book, Selling from the Inside Out, to be released in the fall of 2008. Visit Barry at www.siskindtraining.com