When I became a pro golfer, I learned very quickly what happens when
you start to have some success on the course: The better you play, the
more people ask of you. Suddenly, everyone thinks they know what’s best
for you and people you haven’t spoken to in years call because they say
they want to help you out. Of course, it’s always dangerous to listen to
the people who don’t have your best interests in mind. But it’s equally
as dangerous to shut everyone out and make decisions in a vacuum.
I used to think, “no one knows me better than I do” — which pretty
much meant that I didn’t bother to ask anyone else when it came time to
make an important decision. Over time I was surprised to find that,
whether I liked it or not, I have gathered a small circle of people
around me that know me better than I know myself. And that is incredibly
Whether I shoot 50 or 100, these are the people who are consistently
honest with me. I call them my “board of directors” and they each play a
specific role when it comes to how I manage my career:
By Julia Billen, CEO, Warmly Yours, Long Grove, Ill.
I run a radiant heating products
company — we’re closely linked to the remodeling and new construction
sector, which showed signs of trouble even before the economy collapsed.
My finance consultants told me I was going to lose a lot of money in
2008 — in the many millions — and that if I wanted to avoid bankruptcy I
needed to start cutting costs by slashing my workforce.
I told them I wasn’t going to fire a single one of my 60 employees.
I’d watched my father-in-law deteriorate after getting fired at just 44,
and I never wanted to put someone else through that. Sure, the numbers
were bad, but there was no sense in focusing solely on the negative.
I knew we could make it through if I could just keep the company
moving. To do that, I needed to keep my employees thinking positively.
Once we decide to log off and meet real people in person, where do we find them?
Associations are a good place to start. Some associations involved
with an industry segment are readily apparent. Others take research to
Your industry’s trade magazines and websites might list associations
in their calendar of events section. Make a list of them with when and
where they meet. Put them on your calendar.
Involvement with one association can lead to awareness of another.
Ask others what groups they participate in and how you can visit. You
might be invited to come as the guest of an established member. That can
beat walking in cold.
By way of example
Let’s imagine that you are involved with the precast concrete segment of the construction industry.
Your business is manufacturing and supplying construction materials and sometimes functioning as a subcontractor. (That was the case for this Examiner.)
In this example you are involved with the A/E/C or Architectural Engineering Construction business.
Listed below are some of the associations where you would find opportunities to make business connections:
The answers were clear. The top 3 things exhibit marketers want their bosses to know are:
The value of trade shows
How to exhibit better at trade shows
How much effort it really takes to do trade shows
1. The Value of Trade Shows
Exhibitor marketers praised how trade shows build awareness,
relationships, memorability, and yes, generate leads. They want their
bosses to see the value of face-to-face marketing compared to direct
selling, and how that can never be duplicated via the internet. Many
exhibitors wish their managers understood that the longer sales cycles
for their industries delay results, but to be patient because those
results will come.
Here, in their own words, is how exhibit marketers value trade shows,
and what they wish their bosses understood about their value:
The Innerbelt Bridge is a vital link into downtown
Cleveland. In October 2008, ODOT engineers restricted traffic on the
50-year-old bridge after inspections revealed that a number of steel members
were aging faster than expected. As part of ODOT’s Innerbelt Bridge
Safety Plan, after detailed analysis of the structure and subsequent repairs,
ODOT reopened all lanes and ramps on the bridge in November 2009. Heavy
truck traffic is no longer restricted, however it is suggested that
trucks in the eastbound direction remain detoured via I-490 eastbound and
I-77 northbound in order to increase traffic flow efficiencies.
Minor steel repairs will continue through the fall of 2010. During
the spring of 2009 ODOT announced plans to construct a new $450 million
westbound Innerbelt Bridge, utilizing federal transportation stimulus funds
made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Three designs are available to view and offer comments.
There is an
ancient Hebrew proverb that says, “Be very careful, then, how you live-not as
unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.” Many “experts” teach
that in order to be more productive you must manage your time better. I
disagree! It depends more on us “making the most of every opportunity.”
consultant and author Myers Barnes says, “Time management has nothing to do
with the clock, but everything to do with organizing and controlling your
participation in certain events that coordinate with the clock. Einstein
understood time management is an oxymoron. It cannot be managed.You can’t save time, lose time, turn back the
hands of time or have more time tomorrow than today. Time is unemotional,
uncontrolled, unencumbered. It moves forward regardless of circumstances and,
in the game of life, creates a level playing field for everyone.” Getting
things depends more on focus and “making the most of every opportunity” than it
does time management.
at three ways to focus on being more productive:
A number of the articles we have written have addressed the progress
made in establishing design-build as a viable alternative to
design-bid-build for public sector work.
The desire is for public entities to obtain best value. In some
cases, design-bid-build is very appropriate. As a taxpayer, I want to be
certain that design-build can be used on those projects where it makes
the most sense.
So how do we determine which approach would be best? We could say
that the more complex the project and the tighter the schedule, the more
design-build is likely to be the best approach. But it’s not as simple
For that reason, the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) has
published a position statement on best-value selection (go to http://www.dbia.org/). In the statement, the DBIA stresses that the
basis for evaluation “be clearly articulated by the owner in the
requests for proposals and in making the award.”