What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger
I know the title of this blog series says "persons" of influence but for my 15th one it's actually a herd of people. They're known in my world as our Phantom Screens' Distributor network.
I spent two days with them this month in Niagara Falls at our 25th Anniversary Celebration and as always, I was reminded how they are a huge source of influence in my life, company and career.
Influence comes in many shapes and sizes - as do our Distributors.
Some have been with us for over 20 years, some only one year. Some work out of their garages, while others have big offices and a warehouse. Some are led by husband and wife teams and others have formal organizational structures.
But they all have one thing in common when it comes to my interaction with them.
They want the best for Phantom Screens and aren't afraid to share their thoughts. Over the years, at times I have been intimated or frustrated at never feeling like we've arrived at meeting their needs and therefore may have possibly reacted in a less than effective manner.
But after 25 years of serving them as our customers, our partners, I look back and can honestly say their boldness to speak up for their needs, their forthrightness to cause correction on our part, and their absolute loyalty and dedication to our collective brand has helped me lead our organization to a much better place.
At times when I didn't listen to them, I paid the price and had to come crawling back on my knees. And other times when I grudgingly listened with no payoff, I held it against them. No, just kidding, I didn't. Rather I was buoyed by the fact that I had honestly tried.
But let's face it.
They are in the field every day of the year and I am not. We don't interact with our end-consumers as they do, so I'd be a crazy fool not to listen to their advice about product innovation, improvements or customer experiences. And the only way we are going to make Phantom Screens a household name is through their efforts - which makes us a true partnership.
They say a partnership can be the worst ship to be on but not so for me.
Our Phantom Screen's network of Distributors is like family. A gathering such as we just had is like a family reunion filled with happy "remember when's". Lots of heckling one another and being there for each other to help each one walk the peaks and valleys of life.
Thank you Phantom Screen Distributors - you make this girl proud to call you not just customers, but family too.