Saturday, February 25, 2006

adventure: training the troops overseas

I'm off tomorrow for a week of "training" the sales (inside and outside), field engineering and marketing teams at our Cheshire, UK office. Adding to the excitement is the fact that I've never been to this office, and that I'll be meeting some of the folks there for the first time.

But tonight as I sat at dinner at the neighbor lady's house and feasted on lambs and sloths and carp and anchovies and orang-utangs and breakfast cereals and fruit bats, I wondered. . .

For any of you who once did or still work in a remote office, how disconnected did/do you feel from "corporate"? In my experience there seems to be some sort of chasm of information and culture between you (who are expected to sell) and the home office (where they build the stuff you are expected to sell) that requires a conscious effort to overcome on both parts - but mostly on the part of the folks from corporate.

The best way to overcome it is to. . .wait for it. . .get folks from corporate to visit. Egads!

I swear, sometimes I think more than half of this job is just showing up with something to share and a mission to listen closely. I specifically scheduled nothing other than just "being there" for the week, knowing that there would more opportunities than I even know about now to train, listen, and sit in on some calls with customers.

I know I'll have so-called "down time" during which I can do the hundreds of other things I have pending. And I'll have the benefit of access to really good beer, great TV, and Barley Water.

I bring this up to emphasize - again - that getting out of the office is critical to your well-being, the well-being of your colleagues, and more broadly speaking, the well-being of your firm. This is not to suggest that you sign up for two months of boondoggling. But make it a priority to go visit the folks who you expect to sell the stuff you make. If your boss objects. . .well, let me know.

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