Archived Webinar

From Influence to Impact: Crisis Leadership for Today and tomorrow


Presented by Mark Levy, president and co-founder, Revenue Development Resources Inc.

 Neologisms (Pandemic edition): New words now familiar during the pandemic, such as “pivot,” “shelter-in-place,” “new normal."

Who’s reality? Their reality. What matters most is not what you believe, but what your audience and clients believe. And that might change tomorrow.

Buying online: Here’s the reality: 19+% of all U.S. adults shop online; 30+% of millennials shop online only.

Ike said it: “Plan as if you could lose to the very last second.” 

Mark Levy’s movie recommendations:  Some great examples of leadership and facing reality can be found in segments of “Mr. Mom,” “Apollo 13” and “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.”

A warmer cold call: As a general rule, avoid using the word change. Except when you are calling a client emerging from the pandemic. “I’m calling to see what’s changed” is way better than the familiar “just calling to touch base.” 

Use the rearview mirror. Remember history, and how we were affected. Because we are at the beginning of a so-called “new generic problem.” Globalization alone is likely to mean a pandemic will arise again sometime in the future.

If not, when? Actually, it should be “not if — when.” If is conditional, whereas when is an action word. Go into sales pitches with "when" along with “now” — to overcome objections from a client who wants to just wait on advertising.

Praise time! If there was ever a time for the attaboys and attagirls, that time is now. Not recognizing achievement is one of the top six reasons for employee burnout.

Get a good mission statement. And overcommunicate it to instill a sense of ownership.

Practice, practice, practice. Practice for the unexpected. Think of this contingency planning — for loss of key accounts, for remote work, for instance — as fire drills.  

The boss is my shepherd… Learn the management and leadership style of a shepherd. That includes honoring your employees, reminding them that working from home is a privilege, and establishing virtual water cooler stations to keep communications open.

Mark Levy said it: “Uncertainty is okay, but lack of communication clarity is not.” Don’t sugarcoat or obfuscate.

Mark Levy also said it: “Shepherds know the difference between perfection and excellence.” Even people with flaws can perform excellently.

Don’t Miss Manners: Manners matter, especially in a time when people have abandoned them. Get the etiquette expert in to instruct your team on how to act at, say, banquets. Their good manners will be a competitive advantage.

Stay safe. Really. Good leaders must, especially now, pay close attention to measures that keep their teams safe. Post signs to remind about cleanliness and safety in their homes. Follow federal and state regulations. Update emergency contacts.

When demand increases ... will our ads be so under-priced there is no way we will get back to budget? Right now is probably the best time to talk up ROP because now is the time when advertisers don’t need audience or readers — but buyers.

Enough with the Post/Kellogg cereal example. We all have heard ad nauseum about how Kellogg vaulted ahead of Post because it advertised during the Great Depression. Mark Levy: Can we not find an example in our markets of companies that followed this strategy successfully, and not seven decades ago? 

Retail replacement. The pandemic is wreaking huge damage on retailers, with an estimated 3,600 permanently shuttered. Think about who locally can replace a Bed Bath & Beyond or a Pier One.

Some basics:

  • Can people easily find advertising information on your website?
  • Does your team know what it has to sell, such as special inserts or spadia?
  • Are we talking about benefits instead of features? Move from what we have to what will help the client or subscriber.

Recruiting in a jobless economy: With so many layoffs, companies will want to find the best people in this huge pool.

Other opportunities: Drug and alcohol treatment. Home equipment. Products that target senior citizens.

Post-pandemic resolutions: Resolve to be nice, humble and sharing.

You asked: How do you motivate an employee on the cusp of retirement who is uninterested in learning new technology or techniques? Find out what motivates them. For instance, getting more money or avoiding a pay cut.

You also asked: Who’s doing a good job on their websites of selling the benefits of advertising with them? Look at your website and every time you see “we” or “our” — replace them with “you” or “yours.”

Leadership lead. Want to follow up with Mark Levy? Contact him at or (972) 522-8570.


Mark Levy, crisis leadership