Friday, January 16, 2009

Time with HTG11 in the UK

This week I have been blessed to spend time with the HTG11 group in Birmingham England. We have had an active couple days of sharing and learning from each other. I have done a lot of learning as the guys have tried to educate me on the ways of business here in the UK. There are certainly some differences. Employee benefits are very different - 20 days of holiday (vacation) required for everyone when they start. Banks don't really set up lines of credit and really don't sound like they work closely with businesses at all. Vendors and particularly distributors don't seem to have nearly the level of relationship and service offerings I am accustomed to. The language here has some weird words and certainly meanings of words from what I am used to in the States. The Euro doesn't play here at all. But we have had a bloody good time!

While I have observed a lot of differences, at the end of the day there are very many similarities. People are people everywhere, and that is where most of the challenges seem to occur. Employees don't perform and feel entitled, folks don't follow through with committments or communication, customers don't pay and have unrealistic expectations, and on the similarities go. It appears to me, and most of the guys in the group have verified, that the IT segment here in the UK is 12-18 months behind the US. Living in the midwest I certainly understand that and see it as a huge benefit. We are typically 3-6 months behind the coasts, sometimes longer, and I use that as a competitive advantage by knowing companies on the coasts who can help me understand what is coming. I think HTG can do some of that for our friends here in the UK as well.

Richard Tubb served as our host, and we also got to spend time with great folks like Raja, Vijay, Ashish, James, Chris, David, Simon and Neil. Dave Sobel leads the group here in the UK for us. We had time with Arnie and Jeanine from ConnectWise, Jullian from Ingram UK, and a couple other vendor reps from A-Server (representing Zenith) and Emerson Power. We are still looking for a few good partners here in the UK, so if you know someone let me know. I think the key learning from me was that no matter what stage we are at in our companies, we can learn from one another. There is so much to understand and so many opportunities to take advantage of that the perspective of many is so important to us getting our companies moving forward. The power of peers is evident here in the UK and I am excited to see HTG in the UK, and around the world for that matter, flourish and grow as we apply the go-giver mentality and make it happen for each other. Thanks to all my new friends here in this beautiful place. I am blessed to know and share time with you all!

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