The Power Transmission Distributors Association’s 2015 Industry Summit featured three keynote speakers sharing their experiences around inspiration, motivation and leadership.
Guided by the event’s theme, the 2015 Power Transmission Distributors Association Industry Summit included three keynotes modeled after the popular TED Talks to provide attendees with new ways to “Inspire. Motive. Lead.” their teams.
Phil Hansen, Ryan Estis and Scott Klososky delivered cutting-edge presentations with innovative insights on each of the event’s themes. Here are summaries of the three presentations.
It’s easy to view roadblocks as “the end,” says Phil Hansen, during his keynote speech “Embrace the Shake.” But limitations can provide great opportunities – if you’re open to seeing a different path.
For Hansen, an artist focused on pointillism, the roadblock was nerve damage in his arms that prevented him from making the precise dots that made up his work. But the roadblock can be nearly anything – time, money, resources, tools.
“What if I didn’t embrace the shake?” Hansen says. “Doing so wasn’t just about art skills; it was about life and having life skills. … If we can change the way we think about limitations, it changes the way they affect us.”
In order to change how we view limitations, we must first distinguish between true limitations and self-limiting beliefs, he says. Limitations are obstacles placed in the way from an external source; self-limiting beliefs are “things we put in our own way.”
If a project wasn’t funded at 100 percent, saying the project can’t be done would be a self-limiting belief. Assessing how the project could be done with the available resources – asking the right questions, Hansen says – recognizes the limitation but doesn’t allow it to become a roadblock.
“There are many ways of getting to where we want to go if we’re willing to let go of the limiting beliefs that prevents us from imagining the possibilities,” he says.
In good times, it is easy to fall into the pattern of throwing more money and resources at a problem, but in tough times, those resources may not be available. It’s at those times that people need to really recognize that “we are the source that makes everything happen,” Hansen says.
Recognize that something can be made from what others see as nothing. For example, the first item sold on eBay was a non-functioning laser pointer – a sale that launched a platform that reported $17.9 billion in revenue in 2014.
Instead of letting limitations stop you from growing, Hansen says, embrace the limitations and use them as a source of inspiration.
“Our greatest resources are our internal resources: imagination, creativity, adaptability, resilience.”
“It’s easy to get stuck in the status quo of doing things,” says Ryan Estis, in his keynote speech “Passion on Purpose.” And that’s a dangerous place for a distributor to be, especially in the “era of the customer,” as Estis calls today’s business climate.
Customers are empowered by the choices they have when it comes to providers – no matter if it’s a B2C or B2B environment – and they will only default to price in the absence of value, he said.
Distributors must be mindful of this as they look to promote their value proposition to existing
or potential customers. Estis outlined five actionable ideas that can help business leaders differentiate their companies:
- Embrace continuous reinvention. The status quo is dead, Estis says, and you must disrupt your own business by inviting tension and “unhealthy discomfort” into the company culture. In other words, disrupt yourself before the marketplace does. His advice echoes that of Paul Raiche, president and CEO of ceramic tile distributor Ceratec, Quebec City, QC, who told MDM earlier this year that the secret to success for any great leader is be surrounded by a “team of troublemakers.”
- Brand the customer experience. The best companies have process discipline not only in the products or services they provide, but in the way they treat their customers. Businesses must be able to replicate a brand experience consistently (think Starbucks or Apple) and by doing so, they will create brand evangelists – the people who market your product for you by word of mouth to potential new customers.
- Unleash human potential.Estis says it’s critical to put people in a position to succeed, and this means approaching your business with the 90/10 principle – spend 90 percent of your time preparing and only 10 percent on the task. “Decide how you show up – with passion and purpose and connect everyone,” Estis said
- Be a culture champion. Estis reminded the audience that “culture eats strategy for breakfast,” a Peter Drucker quote that highlights the importance for a company to achieve alignment of a shared purpose. For example, the Mayo Clinic has a mantra of “The needs of the client come first,” which is repeated – and believed – by every employee, from the surgeons to the security guards. Upholding core values will make it easier for every company executive to answer this critical question: “How will I be remembered by the people I work with today?”
- Take Action Now (TAN).Have a TAN plan, Estis says, but be careful not to take on too much. As he reminded the audience by borrowing a quote from Jim Collins: “If you have more than three priorities, you have none.”
Scott Klososky, in his presentation about becoming “A Technology Infused Leader,” says one of the most important components in leadership, especially as it relates to technology, is asking the right questions.
“Tomorrow is a battleground you must not lose, and what I try to get leaders to understand is the battle for tomorrow is fought today,” Klososky said during his deeper dive. “Too many leaders fight tomorrow’s battle tomorrow, and it doesn’t work that way. You win tomorrow by sitting down today and saying, ‘Do I have good technologists around me? Do I have a really good strategy put in place? Do we have good technology governance? Do I have good cyber security? Do I know how to use data well?’
“There’s a list of questions you have to be able to answer, and that creates an environment in which you’ll do technology well. And then you win the future.”
Another important question a leader must ask is if he or she is engaged in “high-beam” or “low-beam” leadership.
Low-beam leadership focuses on monthly results and execution, without regard for long-term trends or future investments. This type of leadership, which is needed for day-to-day operations and quarterly sales goals, is often carried out by an organization’s management team.
High-beam leadership is the responsibility of owners or executives who should possess a five- to 10-year view of the company. This type of leadership entails both trend and predictive analysis along with a willingness to experiment and a focus on investment in the future.
“It is necessary to have some people who are high-beam and some people who are low-beam,” Klososky says. “You should have a mix of people who are visionary and people who aren’t. But everyone needs to have an accurate vision of where the future is. Even if you’re executing on today, you need to know what the picture will look like.”
Klososky says company leaders must ask themselves every day: “What kind of legacy do you want to leave at your organization? That you provided the vision for a technology augmented world? Or that you were the one that crippled the entity on the way out?”