A Great Learning Experience!

I don't usually like to editorialize in this space (those who know me are saying, “yeah, sure”), but I want to take the opportunity to gush a little bit about a great experience that I recently had.

I was fortunate to be able to take part in a two-day seminar offered by an outfit called Growth Dynamics. The seminar (or “Boot Camp” as it was sometimes referred to) was called “Cornerstones of Managing for High Performance,” and it promised to give me the tools I would need to become a better manager, and a specific game plan for growing my company's success. I believe it did exactly that, and more.

In an intimate setting (only 12 students), over the two day period, I learned a great deal about my own personal managing style, and about how I could use my inherent strengths to their best advantage in the business setting. I also learned about how to identify certain styles among my office's team members, and to best utilize the particular strengths that these styles naturally bring with them. Too many managers spend time trying to change their employees into the “models” they believe they ought to be, and some end up sweating so much small stuff that they ignore the bigger picture.

This highly-interactive seminar also offered we attendees the opportunity to engage in some team-building exercises (no, not the kind of thing where we were walking across open pits on rolling logs) to demonstrate how group thinking and common goals could provide extraordinary results. I even impressed myself once or twice!

I'm told that Growth Dynamics also provides a two-day program on sales training, which I can only expect would be similarly exciting and results-oriented. One of the unique things about the seminar is that it came with a lot of take-aways. Not only did I take away a lot of great new insights and principles to help me improve my own work, but also a CD of just about the entire curriculum, which I could refer to at any time to help refresh my memory. The coaches that run these seminars are also available at any time after the seminar to help coach me through a particular challenge or opportunity. When's the last time you ever got that from a seminar?

So many times I look at seminar brochures that cross my desk and say, “that sounds like a good one,” and then I decide that I don't have the time and can't afford to be away for that long. In fact, I had to get talked into doing this one. But I wasn't there for 60 minutes until I realized how grateful I was for having given in. And I won't ever let myself get so jaded about other opportunities that come my way.

Moral of the story? Take the time, even if you don't think you can afford it, to “sharpen your sword” from time to time at programs like these. Of course, we'd love for you to start with the ASA Education Foundation's excellent training menu. But more importantly, we'd like you to commit to the idea of ongoing training. That's the biggest, and most critical step.

Popular industry figure and distribution guru Michael Workman, Ph.D. will be the featured presenter during the Spring Forum hosted by the ASA Young Executive Division, April 21-23, 2004. His presentation will span two entire morning sessions of the 2 ½ day program, and will focus on the latest trends in wholesale distribution. At press time, Workman was working with a group of YE volunteers to design a top-notch program for the attendees.

In an effort to draw more participants to their Spring, 2004 program, the Young Execs have moved their venue from the ski locations they've enjoyed for several years to a site that is likely to entice a much wider audience. The Spring Forum will take place April 21-23 at the fabulous Hyatt Hill Country Resort near San Antonio, Texas.

Also for the Young At Heart

The Young Executives want to point out that their programs, in particular this Spring Forum, is available to all industry professionals, no matter what age or sector of the market they serve. Wholesalers, manufacturers and reps are all welcome and encouraged to attend. In particular, we're hoping to attract a good audience from among the former WDA members in that part of the country.

Details about the program, including registration materials, are expected to be distributed in early January. For info, contact Amy Black at ASA, 312-464-0090 or ablack@asa.net.