Day 3 of the sales meeting event I attended provided a marked admiration for me for the leadership of this firm I have worked with for 16 years. While we have not always agreed eye to eye on every point, consideration of varying ideas has typically reigned. We held several town hall type meetings during our week with open forum opportunities to speak with our leaders. I walked away knowing that thoughtful consideration was made on past decisions and on difficult ones that were coming out.
As I am a parent and have been in a number of leadership roles, the appreciation of the job done by others gains a greater portion of respect through each challenge. During our sales meeting, I had opposite vibes to sift through. I was corresponding with a number of people I considered close friends, of a customer of mine, where a layoff had just occurred last week. The lash outs, pent-up anger, and disdain towards their former executive managers was evident, as one would expect, from anyone who has lost a job.
Day 2 of our sales meeting was the same as usual, but this year seemed to have a tinge of extra respect included. We share in what has typically been a steady industry deemed ‘telecommunications’. While our company has remained steady and strong, consolidation of our customers has taken a toll on the people.
Telecomm became a competitive industry back in 1984 after the breakup of AT&T. click here for a history lesson Today the break up has nearly been reversed as a consolidation of many of the startups from that era has taken place. The result has been a mass reduction in good paying jobs as layoffs abound. Many of the people I have worked with for years find themselves doing the workload of what used to be accomplished by three people.
The net result is high stress and negativity in the workplace.
I should have known my aggressive goal to try and blog almost real time during a sales meeting would be, IMPOSSIBLE! We sales people know how to squeeze every 65 seconds out of every minute and yes, it is expected.
The schedule here on Day 4, the last day is the one we all look forward to the most, as we can finally get a little rest on the airplane this afternoon.
Arguably one of the best parts of a sales meeting for us veterans is the opening reception. I sometimes forget how much like a good family reunion it is to re-connect with fellow workers, many of whom I only see once a year.
As I’m getting more sentimental in this midlife the good memories flow. Having been fortunate to be at the same place for many years, unlike many industries where turnover is heavy, my cohorts and I have been together for many years. Yet it is still overwhelming to arrive at the reception area. This year we have reserved an entire sports bar for ourselves. It is difficult to not remember the first such gathering where there were less than 100 people total, now I know less than 1/4 of the crowd.
Did you ever wonder what goes through the mind of a salesman throughout a typical long and laborious sales meeting? Maybe you are the spouse, or the curious accountant wondering what goes on at these events that send a person off in the air to a rah rah meeting.
This is year #32 for this Average Joe, 16 of them with the same firm. Stick with me from ground CLT airport to the Mecca called Huntsville, Alabama, that we admirably call ‘HuntsVegas’, for Average Joe’s thoughts as I soar through another sales team week. (noting they will have a time delay, no time to do them live, I am at my real Job)
For a guy whose blog theme #1 is ‘Pursuing Peace’ (if this is your first time here, click here for a backgrounder) what better place to start than from my closet packing to go to the airport?
One of the benefits of having your own blog page, is you can do with it is as you please. But, when you are on your own, it is sure hard to find time to reach those lofty goals you have in mind. Stepping out is not easy. It is better than sitting and doing nothing, watching those you care for struggle, and then complain nobody is doing anything to help.
It’s been a week since my last post, so today I thought I would give a quick explanation of where the time has gone.
I know most of the starting followers of my page are not local, but I thought I’d post the ad for my first ever live seminar coming up at my local church. Talk is cheap, so this is a scary action step for me to put it out there, but I know there are many in need and my hope is it helps those who attend now and in the future. If you have read any of my previous blog posts, you know the topics surround fighting fear – this is scary, and dueling doubt – why am I doing this, people will think it is dumb. Those type of thoughts have been in this head for many years. I finally decided, who cares what other people think, my goal is to help people who need it. It is in an area many don’t want to hear about, so that makes it even more of a, why are you doing this fight in the brain. I have to keep telling myself, just shut those thoughts out, and do it.
For once I can write as the positive contrarian on a topic. Having only been at two different companies in the past 27 years and with my current employer 15+ I can actually say, Loyalty does pay!
Fortunately I have only heard those dreaded words once in my life, but how else can one tell someone how not to do something unless you’ve messed it up at least once in your life?
My experience could not have come at a worse moment as my wife was 5 months pregnant with our first child and ‘we was broke’.
I was working as a green sales rep selling computers to anybody that might buy one in those days. It was an exciting time as you could purchase a really expensive computer with (2) 5 1/4″ floppy drives for your business and be ultra productive if you had one. I was knocking on doors of doctors, dentists, lawyers and any business that the co-owners of the company in run down Toledo thought might buy one.
It used to be that loyalty meant something to some businesses. Some industries even tout loyalty and advertise they will give you huge discounts when you are loyal to them. I have found the secret to demanding the loyalty you deserve from businesses for the loyalty you have given them.
Did you know there are ways to get out of those costly annual renewal fees and some rate increases?
Many years ago I was fuming over the latest cable bill increase and decided to call and see if I could negotiate a decrease. I mused after being on hold for the usual 30 minutes when the broken English speaking helper started the speech,
How deep is the workplace negativity scale burning around you? Seems to me, and maybe it is just my industry being in a downturn, it is at all time high levels. Conference calls and emails go out with an announcement of a cutback, lay off, major change and what happens? I wait for the phone to ring with one of my firestarter friends ready to vent and rant. It doesn’t take long with some, how do you handle it when that negative tirade begins?
The concept of supporting family run businesses has disappeared as society has become blind to real people being behind our mobile devices. Business closings have surpassed start-ups(click to read)which should be a major concern since small businesses have long been the backbone of a strong economy.
As loyalty to local businesses has declined, so has the sense of community. Disappearing is the uniqueness and creativity we have ingrained in our spirit. How do we bring that back?
The average individual belongs to 23 loyalty rewards programs. That puts me way above the Average Joe since I have at least 62 bookmarks to various frequent use programs. It does not count the grocery and pharmacy chains that require a card just to buy sale priced item on the shelf. Am I a sucker for participating in these schemes?
Wisdom is shouting to us everywhere and the amount of information available is growing so fast that knowledge that used to take 100 years to duplicate currently is doubling every 13 months. At the present pace because of the ‘Internet of Things’ increasing rapidly, it is predicted to decrease to a mind boggling every 12 hours. (“Knowledge is Increasing”) Despite all the advances of technology, is it really making people smarter?
One of my biggest delays before starting this how to live well blog was being sure I totally had my act together. My biggest fear was knowing that the first group that would read it would be friends, family and people I work with. They especially would be the ones who could call me out in a heartbeat. Fear of judgment from others can be suffocating.
If not now, when? If not you, who? But where?
The voice of the average Joe is seldom heard these days, let alone daringly as it was portrayed in a historical place called Solomon’s Portico. (Read my bio to see who, where and what I am talking about) For a long time this average Joe has stood on the sidelines allowing fear to reign. Self-doubt, skeptics judging motives, and world beat downs that dueled with my confidence have frozen me in my tracks. Way too many bites in the back (like my horse in the cover page is doing) have caused scars that have brought on the proverbial Whoahhhh, stay in a safe place. Can you relate?
The time IS now, for this Average Joe to come out of the closet. No better place and time than here and now where I will write about triumphs, failures and lessons learned, often the hard way, in the pursuit of true peace.