Archive | March, 2012

Midnight In The Garden Of Importers And Exporters

5 Mar

(Reflections on the 2012 NPA Global Conference in Savannah, Georgia)

In one of America’s most historical and intriguing cities, a new spirit of NPA collaboration emerged – and it wasn’t the spirits encountered on the Haunted Pub Crawl.  Like many of you – I lost traction in 2009 but suddenly in Savannah, SplitZone was very real to me – again.

Maybe it was the “wheels coming off” period we survived together, maybe it was John Bartos’ optimism and forcing us to look at metrics, maybe it was the sponsors and their resources that help make placements – regardless, I trust this spirit is alive and well and will be moving across your desk this week and the weeks to come.

I left Georgia’s first city with clarity and wanting to do more business, more NPA business – how could you not?  This spirit was evident from seasoned veterans even – people with colors of precious metals on their nametags.  Folks I met in Columbus, Ohio, a few short years ago had gone from mildly abrasive to quite engaging, even welcoming.  I won’t name names and I won’t even change their names to Rhett or Scarlett – let’s just say – I found that at this conference – frankly, they gave a damn, everyone did.

I was incredibly impressed by the international folks that traveled from the other side of the world to this meeting.   Melbourne, Milan, Hong Kong, Vancouver, Beijing, Germany, Timbuktu, BFE – what an investment these people made to attend.  How you say? Uhh…No one forced them to be there – they wanted to be there – everyone I talked with wanted to be there – that spirit thing was hovering.

My takeaways – use SplitZone daily, get on these conference calls, find ways to attend future events, Facebook has a “large, diverse and engaged” audience we need to tap into more, get face time with your trading partners, great goodie bag by the way, show up and contribute more, Genie Matthews is still…simply the best, eat more small meals standing up talking with people that want to make you money, don’t use Paula Deen or any butter references in this blog post, find your why (more on that in the next paragraph), be grateful for this network, convenience stores aren’t so convenient in Savannah, you cannot have enough of those little stuffed Monster monsters for your 5 year old, don’t be there at closing time, TFI is a great resource, ask clients about international opportunities, don’t throw toilet paper into chandeliers, stop leaving money on the table and drink tickets in your hotel room, and finally – Be Like Mike (Pettit, that is).

As far as finding your why – WHY are you in NPA?  I have a far better answer to that question now – thanks to Geoff Crews via Meri Laird Jones.  We are all owners of this worldwide network – so I say to my fellow “owners’ as you move from takeaways to intentions to initiatives to execution – OWN IT!

In case you had not heard, the next annual conference is in Las Vegas.  March 2013 – Las Vegas.  Bring cash, plenty of business cards, and prepare to keep your hands on the table. You and your team need to show up – based on my Savannah experience, clearly – with this NPA spirit it will be more of a gamble not to attend.

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