Monday, March 23, 2009

Riding the right wave to success

Watching ocean waves is a favorite activity of mine. Getting a picture of just the right color wave is a challenge that I love.

Getting the right picture to post is far more important to me than staying on top of the latest trends or gossip in the entertainment industry.

Our society is moving so fast that it is hard to keep up on even things that interest me. I finally got to the point that I realized that there are lots of things which I can live without understanding. I am not embarrassed that I could care less what Brittany Spears is doing today or that Madonna is not in the news.

I want to focus on what I know and where I can be successful while enjoying what I do. That removes a lot of fluff from my life.

I know that there are lots of television shows which can be downloaded, but I will remain a bystander since I have a hard time finding ones worth watching much less downloading.

There are the extreme sports fans who like jumping off a mountainside and buzzing roadways in the Alps. That is fine with me, just do not expect me to chip in on the medical bills. I really do not care how hard it is drive a truck in Alaska or work in a kitchen with a maniac.

I am also not interested in endless complaining about how poorly the new administration in the United States is doing. They inherited the mess, it will take a while to fix. No one is smart enough to be able to tell if this stuff is going to work yet. That is the end of the brain discussion for me except that rooting for a President to fail is about as low as it gets.

One of the best lessons that I ever learned was to spend more time listening and learning than telling others how to do their jobs. If the job is never going to be yours, you might as well see how well your advice works in your own life.

I can still remember the time when during one of Apple's many reorganizations, I ended up being moved from years of managing a team calling on higher education institutions and selling directly to calling on businesses and selling through resellers.

It was not a move I wanted. I had two choices, become a whiner or figure out how to do the job to the best of my ability.

I knew how to manage people, and I knew how to be a good reseller since I had been one twelve years earlier before I came to Apple.

After the move, I spent a lot of time out in the field with the existing reps, listening to them and their resellers. Mostly I found an incredible amount of arrogance among the reps. Some of the system engineers were even worse. One even gave a new sales rep bad directions to an account so he would look incompetent when taking me there.

Being successful was an option that most of them felt required too much hard work. Complaining about everything was easier. In a year's time the only person out of nearly twenty that I had inherited was my area associate. I had found new people who were willing to work, to listen, to learn, and to be successful.

We put together a series of mini-MacWorld seminar events and delivered them in nineteen cities across the Southeast. We partnered with resellers instead of complaining about them. The resellers loved what we did. The customers were beyond enthusiastic.

We brought value to the equation, and in spite of what the former experts said, we ended up being successful.

We were one of the top regions in the country the next year. Sometimes success just takes fresh faces with new ideas and the willingness to work hard. It did not happen over night, and a lot armchair experts told us we would fail.

We believed in what we were doing and kept going even when the hours were long, and there were lots of people pulling for us to fail.

I think I will keep doing what I know works even now when the times are tough.

You can ride the right wave to success

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