The Representor, Spring 2017 – Executive Commentary
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by Walter E. Tobin, ERA CEO
Along with all of this optimism at the conference, there was a great deal of uncertainty, perhaps even pessimism, about our industry, the political landscape, world affairs, rep commissions, “manufacturers going direct,” the role of field sales and engineers, branch offices, etc.
We just returned from a GREAT 48th ERA Management and Marketing Conference in Austin, Texas, where we experienced RECORD attendance with record first-timers. There was a great “buzz” about ERA and about our industry — so much so, that we will be DOING IT AGAIN in 2018!
The ERA Conference will be back in Austin at the AT&T Conference Center, Feb. 25 -27, 2018, so block out the dates and register early for what is going to be another great conference designed by YOU — our valued ERA member volunteers.
We had more than 60 ERA member volunteers who helped plan the 2017 conference. Do you want to help make 2018 even better? Join the Conference Planning Committee as we put 2018 together!
Along with all of this optimism at the conference, there was a great deal of uncertainty, perhaps even pessimism, about our industry, the political landscape, world affairs, rep commissions, “manufacturers going direct,” the role of field sales and engineers, branch offices, etc. These are real and serious issues for all of us to wrestle with as we run our perspective organizations.
How do we, or should we try and “balance” both emotions … walk the fine line so to speak between optimism and pessimism? We all need to be open and honest with our organizations, our employees and even ourselves as to what persona we take on and present to the world.
On one hand, we need to run our businesses to the best of our abilities while all of these issues and challenges are coming at us at light speed — if we even see them coming. How many do we miss and have to catch up and address after the fact? On the other hand, we need to be aware of the impact that our persona has on all whom we touch — our families, our “work families,” supplier partners, reps, channel partners and our customers.
If we walk around like the voice of doom, spreading negative vibes to everyone we come into contact with, we impact many folks, perhaps without even knowing it. In some cases, this pessimism may cost us an order, a supplier, a relationship with our rep/channel partner or even a customer! No one likes to hang around or listen to pessimistic folks — they bring even the best of us down.
So, WE decide what camp we are in for 2017. Are we folks who try and overcome what is thrown at them and join the “Make Lemonade out of Lemons” camp, or are we the “Angels of Death” camp that spreads pessimism, fear, uncertainty and doubt to all they touch?
Personally, I want to make lemonade in 2017. At the same time, I am not naïve. These are real and serious issues that we are facing, no question about it. All of us are in the same boat with perhaps a few different versions of the same issue. It is time for us to try and bottle the excitement and esprit de corps that most felt at the conference and USE IT in the real world to address our challenges. We can start by working closer together as ONE INDUSTRY to do what is right for our partners and customers. If we can keep both happy, we will be OK!
Let’s make lots of lemonade in 2017!