By David Wolfskehl, an EO New Jersey member and president of The Practice Building Team.
Several years ago, I signed up to attend an EO Learn-Around at a chapter event, thinking I would get together with some friends, drink some beers and have fun as we toured businesses. As it happened, the experience was far more than entertaining. Two of the businesses we visited really resonated with me, and they literally changed my life.
The first business we visited was Planet Honda, owned by Tim Ciasulli. My first thought was that this guy is a nut. I knew the company primarily by the wacky television ads they ran. To my surprise, the person I met was very different. During the facility tour, Tim took us to the training room, where he talked at length about the importance of training in the success of his dealership.
Later that evening, we visited with Hank Siegel of Hamilton Jewelers. Hank owns three jewelry stores. He also talked about how important training his staff was to the success of his business. Specifically, he discussed the importance of training his people together. This EO experience gave me a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see inside successful businesses and hear from the owners what was working. I left thinking I can start training my team. I can do this.
The next morning, I called a team meeting and we started a training program. I did a lot of things wrong, but I kept at it (unlike other initiatives I started after EO events). Fast forward two years later. Because of the staff training, my printing business had a 30-percent increase in productivity, I was a finalist for “Fortune Small Business Boss of the Year,” and I was featured in Inc. magazine. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought these things would happen to me!
Since that learning session at the chapter event, I’ve sold my business, started a new company and wrote my first book, The Micro Niche Method. The core of my company today is training and development— just what I learned during that EO Learn-Around. Without the opportunity EO afforded me, I would never have accomplished many of my career highlights. Thanks, EO!