Who is your office valentine?

valentine

It’s that time of year when valentine hearts and flowers garnish every store, insisting that your loved ones can not possibly know how much you love them without at least a card, if not a gift of candy or flowers. You can’t escape it…and maybe, caught up in the busyness of your life, a gift is actually a good reminder to remember those who mean so much to you.

But an office valentine? Don’t worry. I’m not suggesting some red and pink version of Secret Santa. But just as Valentine’s Day reminds us to think and thank those we love, perhaps we can spread our appreciation a bit farther.

What about the unsung heroes who every day make your work easier, make you more productive and more successful? I’m referring to developers – perhaps in-house, but definitely the software vendors. Too often almost demonized, these are the people who write the code that helps us keep our systems running. Their labor goes too often unrecognized. Perhaps we can think about them in a different way this year.

Navigating the exhibit hall

I watch as technicians steer careful paths at exhibit halls to avoid speaking with the eager vendor representatives at each booth. I get it. No one wants to deal with a hard sell. Perhaps you believe you already have all the tools you need and would prefer not to battle with management for another. But while we think selling is the primary driver, I always think about the words of one of the more successful saleswomen I’ve met.

When asked how she was able to close business and what she thought her job was all about, she said, “I’m in business of helping customers solve their most challenging problems. If what I have can help in that, we both win.”

Think about those words. Most vendors aren’t trying to get you to buy something you’ll never use. That doesn’t pay off in the long run. The men and women designing and developing the code want to believe that what they do makes a difference. We’re in it together, trying to keep businesses running effectively and quickly, both as technicians and end users. When you have the right solutions, you are able to do more for your company, efficiently and accurately, than you could have back in the day when we all had to write our own ‘tools.’

And here’s a thought. If you haven’t looked at software in a while, you don’t know what’s available. Developers continue creating new products with new capabilities, all designed to be of service to you. If you don’t look, you’ll never know.

What’s in it for me?

So next time you’re at a trade show (SHARE in San Jose?), take some time to visit with your vendors. And talk to some new ones. No one is there to sell you on the spot. Consider it part of your learning. Sign up for a webinar. They’re always packed with new information, packaged to inspire quick learning. Give your vendors the valentine of your considered attention. You’ll be surprised at how much you get from doing so.

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