by Charles Cohon, President and CEO, MANA
You see a punch coming. No time to block it. No time to move out of the way. Now what?
Lean into the punch. You still get punched, but that punch has not had time to reach the speed and power it would have reached an instant later.
That’s a valuable life lesson, even when no real punches are involved. The more quickly I can respond to a problem, the less time it has to grow. Step into problems before they grow out of control.
True confession: A recent situation tested my commitment to step into problems before they grow. Let me share what I learned.
An email from a member of MANA’s staff had alerted me that a new MANA member was not happy. He had experienced a technical issue while doing a rep search in MANA’s RepFinder® database. The email suggested that he was very unhappy.
When I find out a member is unhappy, I drop what I’m doing and make the call, and that’s what I did. But it was late on a Friday afternoon and he was not available. I have to confess that when he wasn’t available I was relieved, because I was expecting a difficult conversation.
I didn’t want him to think that I hadn’t responded, so I left a voicemail promising to call him Monday morning. Knowing that I had to speak to a very unhappy member first thing Monday morning hung over my head all weekend.
On Monday morning, I wavered. Was the call I tried to make Friday enough of a gesture? Or did I really need to make the call?
I made the call and I’m glad I did. He was very cordial and had two very constructive suggestions that will make the RepFinder® a better tool.
The lesson I learned: Don’t waver. I was glad I stepped into the problem, and when you step into your next problem you will be too.
Charles Cohon, CPMR, is CEO and president of MANA. In 2016 Cohon earned the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation after completing American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) coursework and testing. Cohon also earned an MBA with honors and with concentrations in strategic management and entrepreneurship from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and was founder and owner of a very successful Illinois manufacturers’ representative firm for nearly 30 years before joining MANA.