Lesson #43: Understand Your Customer’s World, then See How Your Product and Your Company Fits.
If Willie Nelson can have a Tao, well, then so can I.
I’ve been on the job as Classic’s Western Regional Manager for a few months. Let me just say — working four hours a day is exhausting. 😉 Over the past 60 plus days, I’ve learned a few things, made some mistakes, and grown not only as a professional, but also as a person. Here are a few personal “pearls of wisdom” I’d like to share about my experience as a newbie at Classic Exhibits.
1. “I know what I’m doing, I know what I’m doing, I know what I’m doing.”
I’ve had to come to terms with my own insecurities. This may sound a little odd, but to do a good job, I have to know I am doing a good job. While I don’t know everything – not by a long shot — I do know there is always someone on Classic’s team who will support me and who I can turn to if I need help. That alone lessens my anxiety.
Heading into my first trip to Seattle I was full of “What if’s”: What if I don’t say the right thing? What if I don’t know the answer? We all have those insecurities and doubts on a new job, even when it’s an industry we think we know. I’ve learned that I work with brilliant people who care, who want me to succeed, and who will be there to back me up.
Repeat . . . “I am pretty good at my job, and I’m working on getting better.”
2. What I thought I’d be doing vs. What I do vs. What my friends/family think I do.
If you’re on Facebook or any of the other social media venues, you will probably smile or chuckle when you read the above statement. The “What I Think I Do” meme has become the latest fad with its interesting twist on self-reflection.
Having worked with distributors in the past, I felt I had a pretty good handle on what I’d be doing. But after my second trip, I realized that this is more than a job. Yes, I am a cheerleader, a problem solver, and a trainer, but I am also a friend. Being a friend may be more important than the other three.
3. “Understand your customer’s world, then see how your product fits in. Get out of the office and visit them where they live and work.” – Rich Banfield
The whole reason for my job is this one premise. As distributors, you know your market and your customers. As manufacturers we strive to listen to you and apply your ideas and suggestions as often as we can. Where would Exhibit Design Search be without your willingness to share your ideas and insights? I have come to appreciate and believe in “Shared Knowledge, Shared Success.” It’s a breath of fresh air actually and goes hand in hand with Classic’s Can Do manufacturing attitude.
Classic talks about that “Shared” concept a lot. You may not hear it all the time, but trust me, I hear it ALL THE TIME. It’s important to the company. We see it as two-way communication where your contribution matters and is essential to how Classic functions. It’s not a top down approach. It’s not an “our way or the highway” attitude. If you’ve ever worked in those environments, you know exactly what I mean. We want to know what’s happening in your world and how we can better support and react to it.
These last few months have been fantastic, and I can’t wait to see what the future brings. Next time I see you, challenge me about what I’ve learned. As a former teacher, I’ll be ready for the pop quiz. Just remember to grade me on a very generous curve.
Jen LaBruzza, Western Regional Manager