By Scott Costa, Publisher, tED magazine
Mayer Electric Supply’s Glenn Geodecke’s last speech as NAED Chairman was less about what happened during the past 10 months and more about what will be happening in the future of the supply chain.
Goedecke built on his theme for the year, “Connecting Forces Through The Channel,” by bringing up four key points that will enable this industry to be prepared for the challenges it will face in the next 10 years. But, Goedecke added that with a “Can do, Will do, Want to” attitude, we will be successful.
His first point was the importance of the channel. Goedecke reminded the South Central attendees that “your people are your biggest assets, but as managers we need to be invested in those people.” He added that having employees over an extended period of time allows distributors to “prove their value, provide ethics, and maintain integrity.”
Goedecke’s second point was about the impact of Millennials on distribution. He says now is the time to open our minds about Millennials because, “This generation will help us rethink our strategy over the next 10 years.” Goedecke also reminded the attendees that 59% of Millennials aspire to be leaders in the next 5 years, so mentoring them down that path will lead to successful outcomes.
The third point of Goedecke’s final speech pertained to remaining relevant in a transformational age. “Differentiation in the marketplace is characterized by innovation, and it must be encouraged.” Goedecke asked managers to take the time to work on innovative strategies to be prepared for the future.
Finally, Goedecke’s fourth point was long term strategic planning. “NAED needs to be looking forward three, five, and ten years. The NAED board has formalized a long term strategic planning process to develop for the future. The board will have the first review of the plan at the NAED National Meeting in May.”
Goedecke’s message flowed perfectly into the speech by keynote speaker William Taylor, the founder of Fast Company Magazine. Taylor reminded the crowd that the key to success is to learn as fast as the world is changing. He said that in the first-ever issue of Fast Company, one of his writers listed the 50 reasons why a company could not make major changes. But, the truth was that the story was actually written nearly 40 years earlier. Taylor’s point is, despite all of the changes we continue to go through, the reasons and excuses why companies would embrace them have stayed the same.
Taylor also told the crowd, “Don’t let expertise get in the way of innovation. The longer you are at your job, the harder it becomes to open your eyes and do new things. You usually fall back on what has worked in the past.” Taylor says that is a key reason why managers are not innovating and preparing for the future.
Finally, Taylor asked the distributors, “What’s your sentence?” Think of an interesting way to differentiate yourself among other distributors. Taylor told the crowd it was easy to say, “He was the man who re-united the union and freed the slaves,” and you knew he was describing President Abraham Lincoln. Then he challenged the distributors to use innovation and branding to make their own sentence so they can stand out in the crowd.
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