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If Not Us, Then Who?

Written by Jeff Toeppner
Published on Monday, 18 June 2012

If Not UsEDI projects are complex.  How do we keep things simple?  How do we provide amazing customer service leading to successful partnerships?  Far too often in EDI conversations, noise and confusion get in the way of making progress.  Whether it is one side blindly pushing for a specific EDI transaction regardless of the benefits or the business process, technical mumbo jumbo, confusion about what customers or suppliers really want from each other, or a seemingly less eggregious violation… the self deprecating predecessor to a comment seem to appear out of thin air. 

Specifically, when receiving a question or a request, instead of answering, do you say things such as:  “I’m just a mapper, I’m just an Implementer, I’m just a Project Manager, I’m just a Support Analyst, I’m just a Consultant, I’m not the technical expert, I’m only a Rookie, I’m not an expert, or I’m just a lowly fill in the blank?”  

I am ashamed to admit that I have committed at least one of these.  No more!  I heard a valuable piece of feedback from a customer yesterday that called our team out for doing this very thing!  It is rare, honest, feedback like this that will make a difference in how we are perceived - if we do something about it! 

Lets challenge ourselves to think about our abilities in a different and more positive way.  Aren’t we all experts?  As eCommerce professionals, we have a highly sought after skill set.  Let’s banish the “I’m just a…” comment from our repitoire!

I’m not suggesting we go around arrogantly boasting our credentials, enumerating resume accomplishments, and trying to ensure everyone knows that we are the smartest person in the room. Or potentially worse, answering questions we have no business answering.  However, we shouldn't use excuses like, “I’m not the business person” or “I’m not the technical expert” or “I’m just the dumb sales guy…”  While we may intend to be humble, these comments only put limits on what others think of us and just plain “get in the way” while offering no value. 

Our partners are seeking our help for a reason, they value our opinion, trust we have their interest at heart, and need our expertise!  What if we changed our thinking to “If not us, then who?”*  

Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy. 
Norman Vincent Peale

*The quote "If not us, then who? If not now, then when?" is a famous quote made by John Lewis, the son of a poor Alabama farmer, who led marchers to the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1765.

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