Date: June 17 2016
In my role at DMC Atlanta a couple of the things I spend time planning and thinking about are people development and business development. I’ve been on a ‘back to basics’ kick over the past couple of weeks because I think it’s imperative to revisit ones foundation every once in a while. Last week DMC Atlanta received a new report from Glassdoor. In the report were several of the words that people had used in reviews. Glassdoor sent us pros and cons straight from the reviews. If you don’t know what Glassdoor is, it’s an online company that hosts online reviews of companies worldwide. While reading the common words that people used in their reviews it made me think, and want to write about, the basics of DMC Atlanta. I think it says something that in the 50+ reviews DMC Atlanta received there were many more pros than there were cons – the main con is that it’s hard work. In my personal experience I know this to be true. So I’ll break them down as to what the words mean to me personally.
Positive Work environment – I think it’s vital to enjoy your work environment – and to have a positive one. Positive work environments are much more conducive to learning and developing. They’re helpful in that they feel safe and people retain more knowledge when their environment supports it. I believe that when you like the environment you’re in, you flourish. When you have a supportive system and people around you that you can talk to, grow with, and make mistakes with, you develop much faster and are much stronger than if you’re focused on growing and making those same mistakes (that are necessary for growth) in an environment where people don’t empathize with them. When people can relate to you and you to them, valuable connections are made. The environment at DMC Atlanta allows and encourages growth, fun, mistakes vital to learning, and friendship.
Training and development program – The management development program at DMC Atlanta is fantastic on several different fronts. Of course on the basic front, the one that teaches you how to develop professionally and personally from an entry level sales and marketing position, to the Account Manager position, to understanding the responsibilities of a management position. It teaches every step of the way. The best aspect of this program, in my opinion though, is that I feel it is a new way of management and new way of running a successful business. And, once again, in my opinion, the best way to run a business. When the program is completed a new manager knows not only the technical aspects of running a sales and marketing firm, but they know how connect and actually lead their team because they know what they’re going through every step of the way – because they’ve been there. A pro and a con of DMC Atlanta was ‘hard work’. It’s true – learning how to run a successful company is hard work, period.
Personal Growth – I think it’s very difficult to have professional growth without personal growth happening in the process. For me personally, working with DMC Atlanta has helped me to recognize and utilize my strengths and talents. All the while challenging me in the areas that I was/am weaker. In my personal case, starting as an entry level Account Manager in 2010 and now being the VP of Development – I’ve learned more about myself in the almost 4 years than I had in prior years. I was valued for my strengths: innovation, work ethic, problem-solving, creativity, empathy, and follow-through. I was shown how to be better. I’ve not only become better in leadership, but I am a more effective leader because I strengthened my weaknesses, which were: confidence, detail orientation, and a big one is, getting defensive when feedback is given. I’m still working on that one, I probably always will be. For me, personally, that last weakness has improved so dramatically – although it is still my go-to feeling, however, I am able to not react to it and instead, I take a step back, I now listen, I search for the truth in it, and recognize it. Listening works. Listening has made me a better person and a better leader.
Sales experience – At the root of this is: sales is the foundation of all business, period. No matter what you’re doing having some basic knowledge of sales will help. Some people think of sales in a negative light – as with everything there’s another side to it. Understanding sales has helped me in areas of: communication, listening (actually listening), empathy, problem solving, organization/details, time management, relationship building, and most importantly, how to get control of my more negative self – you know the side that tells you everything sucks and you don’t know what you’re doing. To me, those skills are beyond valuable and even if sales isn’t where you want to be, the skills are helpful in most, if not every career.
Do you want to start a business? You must know how to market and sell either your services (example: consulting) or your products. You want to be an artist that makes money at their craft (for the record, I believe anyone can be an artist whether they make money or not), then you need to know how to market and sell your art. Are you looking for a career and a place in this world? You need to know how to show what you have to offer, that is a sales skill. At the end of the day, sales skills are very useful.
Hard work – This was a pro and according to the reviews it’s also the main #1 con to DMC Atlanta. I understand this one very well. I am no stranger to hard work. My first summer job was when I was 13 years old and I was corn de-tasseling, that’s hard work in the physical sense. That’s where you are dropped off in a corn field for 12 hours and literally walking the rows of corn and manually pulling out the tassels. All for 1$ more than minimum wage, my ½ hour lunch was unpaid and we started work at 7 am sharp – which meant that if the corn fields were 2 hours away then the bus picked me up at between 4:30 and 5 am. We worked until 5 pm, drove back, and did it all over the next day – 6 days a week. I did that every summer until I was 18, then I went and worked in a half-way house for schizophrenic patients. My point being – hard work isn’t scary to me.
The hard work part for me here at DMC Atlanta is all mental; it’s about facing me, accepting my new challenge, and knowing that I will make mistakes along the way. I tend to gravitate toward challenge and I enjoy hard work, I even tend to love hard work – but I’d be lying if I said that at times the mental challenges don’t get me a bit discouraged. What I’ve learned with DMC Atlanta is that growth and breakthroughs happen when I feel overwhelmed. When I feel small and vulnerable to failure. I will counter that with the confidence and power that comes when a challenge is overcome and I’m stronger because of it. I’m better at what I do, I am able to connect and empathize with more members of my team – ultimately, I’m a better leader. The more you go through in life, good times and challenging times, the more people you can connect with and the more you can learn and teach.
Learning environment – I believe learning environments need to be safe places to make mistakes and learn from them. I’ve personally made tons of mistakes, and I’m positive I’ll make more throughout my journey. Knowing that I work in an environment that honors the lessons learned by mistakes, well, it makes them easier to own up to and acknowledge – which furthers development – which furthers my career and life. The actual training is excellent too, but when the environment is conducive to it people develop faster. I have a 5 to 1 ratio with DMC Atlanta, in my mind, being with the company for one year is like five years in business in another company. This has been my experience, to me, it’s a real world MBA.
Entry level – This is my favorite part of the base of what we do. This was also one of the cons for people, it came in at #2. My take on starting everyone entry level is that I personally have a hard time respecting people telling me what to do if they don’t know from experience what they’re talking about. It bothers me on a fundamental level –It tramples on one of my core values. I don’t want a boss that I have to teach or train to do their job. It is impossible for this to happen with DMC Atlanta because everyone starts at the same place and learns from the same point. I believe that a leader leads by example, period. That is the only way to be successful with DMC Atlanta. I think the con part came in when people are at a different point in their lives and want to move directly into management. I understand and respect that, however, that’s not what DMC Atlanta is about. From experience, it is vital that our management team knows every step, every challenge, every feeling, and every success in order to do the best for our team and our clients.
Benefits - This was the third con in the reviews for people and I understand it, but I was personally not deterred by it. I have worked in several jobs from working in restaurants, being a professional photographer for a magazine, managing a café/bookstore, to working in an office in a construction firm – and the only time I’ve ever had benefits was when I was working for the state of Michigan in the half-way house, so it was nothing new to me. I think that people who are seeking a typical clock in, clock out, 9-5 office job and traditional benefits will not be the best fit for DMC Atlanta. This career is absolutely not for everyone. I don’t say that to be snarky, I say it because it’s true. Different jobs/careers fulfill different people. However, while DMC Atlanta doesn’t offer traditional benefits in the entry level position, they do come when someone reaches management. I could counter traditional benefits with the benefits that I have received, I’ll counter with what I’ve learned: my experience in sales, business, life, etc. that I’ve had, traveling to conferences across the country, and the personal development I’ve had are the best benefits I could have earned. Since reaching management my traditional benefits have been nice as well, and if you want to know, they include full health benefits and retirement.
What I’ve come to realize more through writing this blog post is how thankful I am for the opportunity that DMC Atlanta has given me.