Into the new year

End of… Hmmm? Week 6? 7? Depends how you count the Holidays…

So now at last I am “upstairs” and “on the floor”, which mean a great promotion: A desk of my own and a computer that won’t be erased every couple of days. And a clear mandate: Kansas.

Though the way work is divided is by zone, and no longer by state, every exec has a State of focus, and mine is Kansas. I am glad at that, because I actually know people in Kansas, including “immortal” police officer Sean Murphy, whom I met in Ohio a few years ago and saw again last Fall at Syd’s surprise bash in Albany.

And I must admit that if even a small percentage of folks in Kansas as both as cool and hard core as Mr Murphy, it announces well. I already like the place.

I know that liking your territory is not a must or salesmen, but I am no salesman. not in the way must people understand the word. I don’t push boxes, and certainly do not promote products based on my profit margin. Doing that is strictly for people with limited, short-term vision.

Guess I am just stupid that way, but I was raised with a certain sense of ethics, and it’s not for sale. What I do is identify a need, and find a matching solution. THAT kinds of come easy to me, considering I have been eating IT for breakfast for the past decade, and more.

Those who know me know I will only recommend buying the best product the budget allows. If I sell cheap gear – and I do – it will be with a full, shared understanding of the limitations. And if I sell expensive gear, it will be only if the offer value worth the cost.

So far so good. I receive no objection, and expect none as long as my way of building relationships produces the kind of results that pleases the shareholders of PC Mall.

This being said, it applies strictly to workers in PC Mall Gov. My training biddies seems to be having a bit of a harder time in the business part of town, and it makes me glad to be where I am, makes me appreciate the quality of leadership we have and the friendship of my colleagues.

Different strokes, I guess – I like where I am, and A. (#1) read me well when she offered me this position. I fit nicely in Gov.

Of the original 35 trainees, only 25 remain a month later. Some left, some were asked to leave… Those who came with open eyes, and knew what the job was, are doing well: SC, among others. An ace salesman transfuse from the competition, SC and I formed a quick friendship that I believe has so far proven valuable to the both of us. I am at ease wit tech, he is at ease with sales, and information exchanges makes the both of us more successful.

And he has great stories to tell – made the training days go by faster. Though he’s in Biz and I’m in Gov, we keep supporting on another best we can, and move forward faster thanks to that.

Perhaps here lies a small truth: If you can’t build solid and rewarding business relationships with the people you see every day, how can you do so with the folks you only contact via phone and email, a few times a month?

In military doctrine, the concept of a tightly integrated unit, from boot camp to the front, has time and time again been proven to be far more successful than other training methods. In battle, enemies superior in numbers were often rebuffed by the determined, well co-ordinated efforts of much smaller units – just watch “300”, for instance. The story is embellished (Persians were not the monsters depicted!), but the point is there.

There is absolutely no reason why this concept could not translate well to business. If the corporate values and tradition do not include this, then make your own “unit” out of people sharing your values. As you and them move along different career path, this shadow network will remain a great source of strength to its members, and oil whatever rusty processes the official bureaucracy throws in the way of efficiency and performance.

Nothing new here: The “Old boy’s network”, the “Gammick”, and many official and networking organizations and events share this aim, and have for ages. To some extent, religion served that purpose for many years as well, tightening the bonds within a community with church-step conversations and summer picnics.

Problem is that, in today’s large city and with the decline of religious participation, anomie rules. You don’t know your neighbour, and usually don’t want to know. It’s somewhat deflected in small towns and agrarian communities, but remains more the rule than the exception in Occident.

So who’s to watch your back?

Friends – and I mean friends and not acquaintances, friendship implying some form of explicit or implicit covenant – and probably the only true wealth you have in this life.

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