Photizo Insights Blog - Photizo Group
Living in Alabama, there was no way I could avoid the hype leading up to the recent Iron Bowl football game or the avalanche of comments after the game, especially considering the way the game ended—a missed field goal by Alabama that Auburn returned for a touchdown and a 34-28 win…with no time remaining. My daughter attends the University of Alabama, so while we have been a Florida Gator home for most of the 29 years I’ve been married to my husband, a Tampa native, we have become Alabama fans, at least temporarily, while our money and our daughter are in Tuscaloosa.
In the week that followed, despite the emotion that hijacked most of the conversations about the game and its position in Iron Bowl history, it occurred to me that there are some lessons to be learned from this game (and really sports in general) that could be applied to the imaging industry (and really business in general).
Win as a team, lose as a team. While Alabama’s field goal kicker, Cade Foster, was the goat for many people, he was really only the most visible person on the team that didn’t get the job done. Alabama’s defense allowed big runs by Auburn, and Alabama’s offense wasn’t hitting on all cylinders either. Even Alabama’s vaunted head coach Nick Saban made some questionable decisions during the game. Saban constantly preaches about execution and the responsibility of each player to take care of his job, and a failure to execute was clearly shared by the entire team.
So, what about your business team? While it’s also easy to place the blame for a failed customer relationship with sales or service people that have direct contact with clients, the support team behind those more visible roles shares in the responsibility of keeping customers happy and engaged so that those relationships result in new or continued business with the client. People may scoff at the idea that we’re all in sales, but everyone can effect a company’s decision to work with your business.
Have some class. There are so many facets of this statement that it’s hard to know where to begin. With respect to the Iron Bowl, I was impressed by the Alabama fans that offered sincere congratulations to the Auburn football team and threw their support behind this in-state rival for the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Championship game against Missouri. At the same time, I was appalled by the behavior of many Alabama fans that ranged from snide comments to outright hate in the form of death threats for Cade Foster. I believe that a true measure of a person is how someone responds under adversity. After all, it’s easy to be gracious and kind when things are going well—although some Auburn fans showed that it’s equally easy to be nasty and unkind when things go your way…something that all sports fans should think twice about because things eventually go the way of your opponent.
Do your employees act with class in all circumstances? Are they equally kind and gracious in victory as in defeat? Do you set a good example for your co-workers? It’s incumbent upon each of us to be professional at all times, even if you want to moan and groan—do it in private so you’re not contributing to an atmosphere of negativity.
Constantly improve. While this should be a given, both in sports and in business, teams and companies have a tendency to rest on their laurels when life is good, rather than continuously look for ways to improve. Auburn’s performance improved drastically from the first game of the regular college football season to the last, with head coach Gus Malzahn’s constantly preaching to the team and then praising them about the progress made after each game.
In the imaging industry, one of the biggest challenges is for vendors and channel partners to constantly improve their business model, given the still relatively high margins of the traditional hardware and supplies business. You shouldn’t wait to hit rock bottom, like the Auburn football team did last season, before looking for ways to improve your current strategy.
My final comments are about entitlement. I’ve heard a lot on this subject regarding Alabama, and the SEC in general, especially when it looked like no SEC team would play for the national championship this year. And while I am certainly biased in favor of the SEC, I have to agree that what happened in past years should not influence Bowl Championship Series (BCS) voters this year. Having said that, I believe that Auburn truly earned its way to the national championship game this year, and it’s not entitlement when you earn the opportunity.
So, a final question: Are you earning the opportunity to do business with your customers or are you counting on past performance to get you through? Whether you feel that your success is due to destiny, building a dynasty, or a combination of the two, executing as a team, professional conduct, and ongoing improvement are critical elements of any business game plan.Read More Retweet
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