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Excited Passion is a Necessity?

1 November 2016

Getting employees (or volunteers) to perform together and independently at their greatest potential and without fear is something that causes me to jump up and down. Literally.

Connecting unrelated ideas and turning them into something unique that can reshape how people do their work – creating efficiency.

These performance, or efficiency enhancements do not have to be business related, but they often are. In a personal, or volunteer context for me it’s about what drives people to a greater effort than they would otherwise do alone.

Let me explain by way of a story from when I was working as a sales and business development rep for one of the original optical tint companies. I became friends with everyone I could in the company. We had our own printing press, and steel cut machine. I learned how to use it all, which was way outside of my job, but people were willing to humor me. What a trip it is to have to have every body part touching a secure place on a machine in order to prevent decapitation. I like my head being on my shoulders, so this was a good thing.

The scientists and engineers were eager to share everything they could with one of the people who actually sold the products. It made me a better salesman. It made them better inventors. How you say? I told them what our customers told me, whether on the phone, in person, or in the trade shows I went to every month. I turned this inside job into a business development job, because every time I went to a show, I would go to a customer during open periods. Why not? I was paid to sell, wouldn’t you do this too? It gave me great insights into how and why people used or stopped using our products. I brought opticians back.

The internal relationships became the real deal – an upset customer had a $10,000 machine worth another $5,000-15,000 annually in recurring consumables, that sat dormant for a year, due to a $2.50 part. This was 1984. That was significant money, and rightfully, the optometrist didn’t want to re-crate and pay shipping for a warranty repair. We weren’t sending an engineer out to repair it due to time and probably a $1,500 airfare. Remember these were the days before discount airlines. He stopped buying everything from us. I converted him, well WE converted him when the scientist and engineer that designed the machine identified the repair need, and were willing to take the risk that he would “void” his warranty by doing the repair. We overnighted the part, and the engineer walked the doc through the fix. A week later I received a $1,000 order for consumables and $250 more for other things he needed from us that he otherwise would have bought elsewhere. This innovation cost us a part and shipping.

Only when people from different backgrounds, different skills, and different goals realize that helping constituent parties (i.e. customers) is the only raison d’etre, can this occur.

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