Since the majority of the
professionals in the exhibit industry are women, I most often look for
other than sports analogies to make a point. However, in reading the
Investor’s Business Daily of January 24, 2001, I found some of the points
that Jerry Rice the famed San Francisco 49’er receiver made were germane
to all of us in the exhibit industry.
How do you get to be the
Super Bowl MVP, be the all-time leader in receptions (1281) and receiving
yardage (19, 247) and the most touchdowns in NFL history (197) ? How do
you get to be the Exhibit Manager of the Year? Is it just natural
talent? Or is it focus, commitment, and discipline? It seems to be all
What can one learn from
the 38 year old Jerry Rice to achieve the pinnacle of our profession?
Maintain peak physical
condition – since most of us don’t have to be in the top physical
condition that is required of an athlete, we need to be conditioned
physically so we can withstand the rigors of 10-12 or 14 hour days,
exhibit set-up and tear-down and the work all day – fly all night
schedules we have to maintain. Without being physically fit and eating
healthily we cannot maintain the schedules that most of us are required to
withstand. In addition to physical stamina, we require mental agility to
bob and weave with the variety of changes we have to face day-in and
day-out from our many constituencies and internal customers.
Master the skills of
your profession – become a student of exhibiting – in order for us to
be in control of our exhibit programs, we need master the skills –
planning, budgeting, marketing, project management, elements of design,
and logistics. We need to be life-long learners – read everything we
can. We need to spend some time , be it 30 or 45 minutes, of every day
committed to learning.
Be tough on yourself
– you face both internal and external competition. In order for you to
rise to the top of your profession, you need to be tough on yourself. Set
a disciplined course for yourself. That doesn’t mean work yourself into a
stressed-out condition that leads to burn-out. It means setting goals.
Identifying what is working for you and what isn’t . It means continuous
improvement. Creating plans for growth and professional expansion.
Work hard, work smart
– You only have so much time. You need to devote time to your job, your
family, and yourself. Too many of us are heard today saying, “ what
life?” We just work. In order to achieve top performance you cannot
just work hard, but work smart so you have enough time and energy left
over to live the remainder of your life.
Maintain a positive
attitude – today we are faced with stress from downsizing,
rightsizing, “dot.comization”, shrinking budgets, and management that
doesn’t understand the medium. In order to maintain balance and achieve
the performance you desire, you need to maintain a positive attitude.
We’re not talking about “looking at the world through rose colored
glasses”, but we are talking about glasses being half full and not half
empty. We are talking about strategic thinking that allows you to work
out issues logically and rationally, not emotionally.
When your are doing
something you truly don’t like, ask yourself if this is the worst it can
get? – there are lots of activities we don’t like to do. Defending
your budget, firing a supplier because they are not preferred by your new
management or sitting and waiting for lost freight. Just ask yourself is
this as bad as it could get? Obviously, no, so cheer up and remember as
Little Orphan Annie sang, “the sun will come out tomorrow”.
Be a perfectionist
– this is what is expected of you. Being a perfectionist doesn’t mean
that you get bogged down in details or become an anal retentive
personality. It means that everything you do, you do the best you can
every time. And each time you do it, measure your own performance, decide
what was done right and what could use improvement and create a plan to
improve it. Continuous improvement breeds perfection.
If we all can aspire to
be a Jerry Rice, a Picka-Boo Street, a Nancy Kerrigan – we will
drive for the end zone of our profession every day, all the time.
© 2013 by Marc