The Importance of Mentoring and Learning

by Jerry Leth, Vice-President and General Manager, MANA

Why is this important? We all know the definition of insanity, where we keep doing the same things over and over again and expect the results to change. To change the results, we need to act differently.

We can change in a couple of ways. Go with our gut instinct and hope it turns out okay. The alternative? Get guidance from an experienced person, someone who knows and understands the issue, and use this knowledge and experience to significantly improve results.

What makes this so challenging in today’s world is we are all so busy we don’t have time for this. Too many other things on our plate. To change, we need to take a moment and re-prioritize our to-do list. Surely there are items on that list less important than increasing your professionalism and profitability. Why don’t you add, “Make significant changes to how I do stuff” to your to-do list?

Fortunately, many knowledgeable and experienced people are willing to help those who need assistance. They are called “Mentors.” At MANA, we call them the “Wisdom Council.” These are long-term members, both manufacturers’ representatives and manufacturers, who offer to help start-up manufacturers’ representatives or manufacturers new to working with independent manufacturers’ representatives. If you need help, reach out to a Wisdom Council member and get their guidance rather than relying on your gut instinct. We list the Wisdom Council in the member area of the website.

If you are a start-up manufacturers’ representative, take it a step further and sign up for our “Pathway to Rep Success” program. Not only do you get access to mentors, you get guidance on specific resources to study and learn the right way to run your business so you become more professional and profitable. Learn more about this program in the “What’s New at MANA” section of the MANA website.

When you make a commitment to make a change and execute your plan, not only will you increase your profitability but think of how you will feel about what you accomplished. It really works!

Jerry Leth, MANA’s vice-president and general manager, started as membership manager in August 2000. Previously, Jerry owned and operated Letco Tech Sales, Inc., a MANA member, multi-line professional outsourced sales agency he founded in 1989. Before starting his own agency, he managed a network of manufacturers’ reps as vice-president of sales and marketing for torque and tension equipment. Jerry graduated from Stanford with a mechanical engineering degree. He started his career at Hills Brothers Coffee in San Francisco in engineering and production before embarking on a sales career.