Last month I had the pleasure of attending my region’s annual forecast review. All of the managers in the region meet once a year to present their plans for the following year. I had spoken with many of the managers on the phone before this meeting but had only met a handful of them. Since all of the profit centers vary quite a bit, it’s always good to hear about the other managers’ experiences. Because I will train with one of them in my next phase, I was particularly interested to talk with everyone. Each manager prepares a packet filled with last year’s ambitions next to the actual outcome. They also create a breakdown of goals and how they will achieve them specifically. I sat down with my mentor, my region manager, the vice president, the president, and the owner of Hajoca. What a room to be in! I would have thought it would be extremely intimidating but I was surprised at how encouraging the meeting was. Instead of the forecast being a presentation, it is a conversation. It is a time for managers to be held responsible for what they committed to do. Managers are questioned about their weakest areas and their forecast is reviewed critically. But more than a test or judgement, it is a time to get feedback. The forecast is especially good for companies like Hajoca that give limited instruction to the managers.
I am now finishing up my counter phase and about to move into operations. Although, working at the counter won’t be ruled out for me. Instead of giving up the previous phases, moving to the next one is just adding more training. I have very much enjoyed my time getting to know our frequent customers. It’s not all fun and games- I worked in the hot/cold warehouse carrying heavy boxes. And not all customers are easy to handle and some of them expect us to be mind readers. Everyone in sales and service needs thick skin and it helps to be able to let comments roll off your back. Overall, however, it’s rewarding to get praise from customers and co-workers. Nothing beats the compliments like “You’ve only been in plumbing for 7 months? Wow, you learned fast!” Many of my mentors are my co-workers but I also get a lot of training from plumbers who chose to invest time in teaching me how to best service them. I look forward to my next phase, operations. Next I’ll report about all the behind the scenes work of keeping up the business.