Tapping into networks
Connecting the dots to create something bigger

The spring had thrown a lot of wrenches in to my Friday Training Day gears. Traveling, holidays, overlapping social events, other business and a couple of unfortunate rain checks from agreed FTD’s. With FTD’s sales apartment was apparently still hibernating, gone fishing, or whatever. In other words I needed to get up to speed and start planting seeds to be able to harvest again maybe someday. When chips are running low, instead of raising the stakes, it’s better to believe the odds and start from the basics. Mothership Don&Branco was calling.

At D&B, they were working on new sales proposals for a new clothing company and boldly the night before Henrik asked me to think about some new marketing ideas. Great!

By the way and referring to the sarcasm above: in case you don’t know how well marketing and engineers go together, I will give you a couple of clues chocolate & water, communications & IT, coffee & onion (breath afterwards!) drunken firemen & boxing gloves, ADHD & superglue etc. – you probably got the clue already. Nevertheless, with the teachings of Sun Tzu at the back of my head about knowing your enemy, I jumped the chance maybe also hoping that maybe one day, marketing and me, we would find harmony.

The previous night I wanted to prime my brains for the next day and read a couple of marketing articles, listened to some podcasts and initially drafted a couple of ideas before going to bed to let things sink in a bit. The method works in most cases like a charm – and so it did this time too: in the morning I had a hefty list of ideas and concepts to present.

The following day, we were discussing the case and also my ideas around it, I came across some issues that to a certain degree I had encountered not only in my earlier trainee sessions, but also in real professional situations.

Firstly: How to do you establish credibility with your trainee hat on and given this notion, how to bring forward your ideas? Should I pretend to be absolutely sure about my case and aggressively push them? Or instead lay down the honest facts: this is not exactly my turf, but I still gave this problem a serious thought. My perception from many similar situations is that expressing the lack of expertise doesn’t go down as well as it could, despite all fanfares on being a new-novice. In general, people tend to loose interest so quick with certain cues like “I am not sure..” or “I’m not an expert..” that it’s difficult to create a story with progressively increasing engagement around those phrases. The way of reason is too slow and complicated in many cases.

Secondly: Ok, we have a bunch of ideas we could start working on. Which one(s) do we start to pursue and take action on? – All in all, there seems to be a long way from spark of an idea to execution. Additionally, I know from myself that it’s not always easy to get all excited about other people’s ideas. This question is obviously also related to the first point above.

Ideas, anyone? Finding an optimal angle to approach these two questions would make a huge difference.

In addition to the two general dilemmas above, the case itself was a good mental challenge for me. How do you ignore your own set of intrinsic values and try to relate to someone entirely different from yourself? While it might not be absolutely necessary to be excited about or believe in someone’s idea, product or what ever value proposal, it sure helps a lot when you are trying to think about ways to promote them. Conclusion: plenty of room for personal development there (too).

At the end of the day, I realized once more that unless I wasn’t born a nomad, I would probably find myself laying my hat at Don&Branco for good. Spending a day over there is always just simply so nice* and they always expose me to something outside my comfort zone -the stuff champions live and breathe for.

*Despite the fact that I got at least a half a dozen of witty comments about my bulky second hand corporate pc laptop. -hey, I am still a trainee living on toast and jam and I cannot afford Apples, you know!)