"It's (still) not Personal... It's Business!"

....And maybe that's what's missing in the A/V Industry today.
"It's (still) not Personal... It's Business!"

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"So, what are you doing - looking for a new job?!"
I was mocked as I made my way around every person who offered similar products as myself during some downtime on the exhibitor floor. I'm in tech manufacturing, so they're easy to spot. 

*   *    *

"It's very competitive and territorial out there, with lots of history...I'd watch out"
"There's a lot of money to be made so it can be brutal..."
"The friends are few in this industry - best to keep to yourself..."

Sound familiar?

*   *   *

Just recently, I attended a mid-size tradeshow, and since I oversee several states within my territory, it being held at home sparked my hospitality gene when I arrived. I was self-missioned to connect with other people whose days may look similar to mine with simply an introduction, extended smile, and an extra cheer-boost to my female counterparts (I see you, ~25%er!**).

Sure, we may see each other's names on the same bids - some won, some lost - but ultimately, my attitude is: If you're here and I'm here, then our products are in high demand which ultimately is a good thing. At least one of us will have the solution a prospective client needs and, therefore, productivity can march forward. 

The way I was treated by the people (my perspective) who saw me as nothing more than a competitor is noteworthy and discerning. Regardless of the industry, I discourage the personifying Money-Fame-Gain-whatever as a shapeshifter to our clients ($$ gain), coworkers ($$ compared), competitors ($$ threatened or lost). Golly! Can you just imagine if our value as people was measured by the size of the dollar sign floating over our heads? - if you'd treat those with a small, seedling of a $ sign any differently than one with a big, bright $ sign, then perhaps introspection is the best starting point.

Now, don't get me wrong... I love a juicy challenge and exchanging witty, playful banter amongst industry acquaintances.  But, when our values and the way we treat others are motivated most by financial or hierarchical gains, we can quickly lose sight of the humanity and true big-picture purposes around us. Us folks in technology are privileged with a great responsibility that most industries rely on, many of which also strive to better our communities and positively impact individual lives. 

Some may consider it naive of me to think "at least the students will have better learning tools..." or "thankfully, meetings at the cancer center will go more smoothly and eventually help more patients.." after a lost bid but I don't want to ever become blinded from seeing the big purpose. Because, of course, while the wins sure are sweet, inspiring our communities and elevating our industry by respecting each other is that much sweeter. 

So, to leave you with a thought: How could you put a bit more "personal" back in your business?

**Reference: Women make up roughly 24-26% of the technology workforce. Sources vary. 

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Go to the profile of Mario Gonzalez
about 1 year ago

Hi @Elissa Payne, I agree with you; we must remember that we do business to benefit other people and that our relationships are one of the most valuable assets we possess... and those good relationships do not have a price in the market. 

Go to the profile of Elissa Payne
about 1 year ago

That's a good word! Thank you, @Mario Gonzalez!

Go to the profile of Dante Ross
about 1 year ago

So happy to see you sharing this perspective. I’ve certainly seen my share of misaligned and misguided priorities in my 30+ years in the industry. No question the $ signs have their required place, but the moment they become the sole driver is the moment we lose any understanding of real purpose, and what valuable contributions each of us has the individual (and even better - collective) power to bring to those we share the air with. Thanks, Elissa!