Years ago when I was fresh out of college, I had the privilege of working with a really great group of people. My bosses were great and I learned SO much in those few short years. Many of those lessons are still helping me today, probably even more than they did back then.
1. It’s All About Relationships
When you have strong relationships with your customers, they will tell you when you do something wrong. They will share with you what your competition is doing that is creating temptation for your customer to buy elsewhere. Strong relationships alert you early to quality problems, price competition, and a myriad of other issues.
Mom Version: When we build strong relationships with our kids, they will alert us to problems sooner rather than later. Families are designed to have strong relationships. As a parent I’m responsible to make sure my actions and attitudes build up my family.
2. It Takes Time and Shared Experiences to Build Relationships
The expectation when we were out of town was that we would ride with the sales rep to the customer site, go out to dinner with various sales reps in the area, and participate in social outings. When the sales reps came to town we were expected to do the same. It wasn’t so much about a need to entertain as it was about creating shared experiences. “Windshield” time was not wasted time but valuable time to listen to the opportunities, problems, and pressures the territory was facing.
Mom Version: I have lots of favorite things about homeschool, but having extra time to spend with my kids is one of the absolute best things. We have loads of times together and we are able to go on lots of outings. “Windshield” time is still powerful time. Sometimes the kids share really deep thoughts while riding in the car.
3. Know your talking points
You should always know the key points you want to talk about during an interaction. Have an actually answer to the “What’s going on in ….?” question. Keep it positive and tailored to the audience.
Mom Version: It’s still important to know our talking points. Some of mine/ours are: The power of perseverance, Choose a positive attitude, Every person (including you) is created for a purpose, Be respectful of other people even when you don’t agree with them or understand them, Friends may come and go but 30 years from now I expect you and your brother to be at Christmas dinner together, No matter what Mom and Dad will always love you because you are our son.
4. Respond in a timely manner / Don’t commit if you can’t deliver. / Find ways to say “yes”
Different requests have different time lines – figure out what the time line is and respond appropriately. Give it your absolute best to meet all requests, but don’t commit to things you can’t deliver on.
Mom Version: I need to be extremely prompt about checking over assignments to make the most of learning opportunities. Some of the kids requests don’t have to be answered right away and I should take time to really think it over before I answer. With kids it’s also good to find ways to say “yes” instead of “no”. I’m not talking about buying the kids everything they could ever want or letting them do anything they ask.
5. Believe in ABUNDANCE (Grow the Pie)
This idea was radical to me at first, especially coming out of the educational system where I had always strived to outperform my peers. It’s really all about creating goodwill and win/win situations.
In business we can gain customers by taking business away from our competitors, creating new markets/products, or helping our customers grow their business. When we create new markets or products or help our customers grow their business we grow the pie.
The desire to learn and grow as an individual will take you new places and keep things interesting. Your growth will benefit your business and when your business grows it will provide opportunities for personal growth.
Mom Version: For me believing in abundance means contentment, gratitude, and confidence. Instead of comparing my kids to others, I can see a large variety of strengths in my kids, their friends, and other people. We can cheer for others and learn from them when we aren’t threatened by the success of others. Believing in abundance allows individuals to develop on their own timeline. When we believe in abundance it frees us to be lifelong learners – we can spend more time studying something we are passionate about now, because there will be time to learn about different things later.
What about you? What lessons from a different time of life are you still using today in a completely different situation?