Thursday, November 11, 2010

10 Things I Accidentally Learned

This past week I was in Orlando and shared at the IT Nation event hosted by ConnectWise. The topic was “10 Things I Accidentally Learned Along the Path to Growth”. Since I am one of the older folks in the industry, experience is on my side, and there have been some fairly painful learning experiences over the past 25 years. Ten of them stood out as significant – so that is what I shared. I will be writing in much more detail about these on this blog over the next few weeks – but here is the list and highlights for now:

1. Strategy Matters – we have to understand the "why" so we can set our sights on where we are going and know the outcome we pursue.
2. Planning is Key – we need to plan in at least 4 key areas – business, leadership, life and legacy – and the more we plan the luckier we get!
3. Leadership is Required – we have to grow as leaders both in our company and for our clients. We can’t lead people where we have never been.
4. Cash is King – our ability to grow and continue to lead in this industry can happen only when we have managed our cash well.
5. Growth is Hard Work – many think growth just happens. It doesn't. It takes a lot of continual effort and always is harder, slower and longer than expected.
6. Sell is Not a Four Letter Word – Ok - actually it is, but for many years I missed the boat on this one. Nothing happens until someone sells something. We have to become a strong sales organization.
7. Vendors Are Not The Enemy – we must learn to leverage their resources to help drive our business.
8. Success Without Balance is Empty – if we lose track of what matters and do not balance work and life – the results really don’t matter. We must manage our time and focus.
9. Keep Your Eye on the Customer – our marching orders come directly from them, not the latest fad or trend, and we must listen closely and respond quickly.
10. It is All About Relationships – we are in the people business actually helping folks with adapting to change. Boil it all down to this – we are in the change management business.

So that is my list – I probably forgot a few important thoughts along the way. The response has been overwhelming from those who heard it. As I sat down to create this presentation, it occurred to me that there are no items on the list that deal with technology itself. In the last 25 years some rather major changes have occurred. There was no Internet when we started. Cell phones were 20 pounds and not reliable. A portable computer was a luggable that weighed 40 pounds and was the size of your entire desk. IP telephony hadn’t even been thought of. Very little of the technology that we deal with today was even a glimmer in someone’s eye back in 1985. But the reality is that technology without a person using it has little value. It is about people and how they apply what we sell. We are in the people business – we must never forget that – and technology is just a tool we have to serve them. Our success will be measured by how well we keep our eye on that ball. Let’s make sure people are in the center of everything we do!

1 comment:

Wayne Wymore said...

Great article! I'm glad I found this blog. You can learn things "accidentally" from this series that have very little to do with technology - but a great deal to do with successfully helping your clients USE technology!

Thanks Arlin!