When you are around long enough your life begins to overlap
I returned from a great 2.5 days at the Southern Automotive Conference and am trying to take a few minutes-hours today to unplug and think about what I have been through and experienced in the recent past, especially this year. It has been a great ride thus far in 2012 and I know I am extremely blessed to have the wonderful clients and teammates I work with who make things happen.
While it is hard to grasp that I have reached the age of 53, I also find more reasons to be thankful every day because of a multitude of reasons, one of which I will write more about today. More and more I am starting to see some of the same people in different situations than where I first met them. There are a variety of reasons for this, but there is also strategic value in seeing this overlap occur. I’ll say more in a few lines. Let’s talk about what I have experienced first and then more on from there.
Let me first explain what SAC is. The automotive industry has flourished in the southeastern united states for a little more than 30 years now and this annual conference brings together organizations from Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and South Carolina as well as other interested parties from across the country and many parts of the world. The associations have names like TAMA, MAMA, GAMA, AAMA and SCAC. This year’s conference was the largest yet with over 500 attendees and addresses from political figures such as Senator Lamar Alexander, Senator Bob Corker and Governor Bill Haslam.
Topics included the start of the industry with the Nissan location in Smyrna, TN in the early 1980’s and the many additional wins since then. I will not go into too many details, but the true indicator of success was to see that there were many representatives from the mother of the industry, Detroit, Michigan, at the event. When the competition notices, you know you are headed in the right direction.
The point of my post is that I am starting to see some of the same key players in many of the same venues I frequent. From a networking perspective this is a real bonus. It shows me that some of my strategy in the industry choices I have made have some synergy and relationship. One of the key measures in strategy, especially if you are a student of Michael Porter, and I am, is that it will be harder to decide what you WILL NOT do versus of choosing what you will do. I know well the feeling of wanting to do almost anything for anyone with my business at the beginning. It is a liberating feeling to have people call me now, potential clients, and having the confidence to refer them to a better source for their needs than me. I could not always do that without worry, but now I better understand where I should, and should not, be applying my talents.
When I see this overlap it also helps me to deepen the linkages I have with these key contacts because they also see the duplication and relationship in what we are both doing. Let me give you two examples.
Example A is a contact in the civil engineering world. We recently meet at a general business function in Nashville and shortly afterward met in their office to talk more about our businesses. We then crossed paths at SAC and learned that there is a common focus on the automotive market. Synergy, pure and simple.
Example B is a little different. This person has worked in a variety of tech and tech related roles and is now working with a firm that provides consulting services to a variety of industries. We met previously while he worked in another role and he is also a board member of an organization that promotes technology growth in the state. While I didn’t spend as much time with B, it is comforting to know that there is focus in what I am doing.
Experience and exposure can be of great value and I am really starting to understand how I can better utilize and leverage my various experiences and knowledge base to assist a variety of people and clients.
Staying in the mix and attending the right events is part of this process. I cannot be everywhere and know everyone, but I can make a focused attempt to connect and deepen the linkages in my key areas of focus.
What about you? Are you seeing overlap and synergy in your work?
Is it creating value for you?