I believe I was hired at the first factoring company I worked for because I was the only person they interviewed who had any idea what factoring was. When the headhunter asked me what it was, I said “Um, it has something to do with invoices, right?”
The irony is that I had no clue about even that until two weeks prior.
Toward the end of my first career, in commercial collections, I managed all of the litigation. Right before this interview, we received a really big check from one of our attorneys. The check paid EVERYTHING. This rarely happened – getting everything at once. I called our attorney to ask why. He told me the Factor found out about the judgment and made them pay it off. I asked…”What is a Factor…”?
And so it began…
When I was getting ready to start my new job, I finally asked what it would entail. My boss told me it was a cross between a cop, a stern parent and a cheerleader. Coming from a collection background (and being a cop’s kid), I had no problem with the cop or stern parent. Cheerleader? Ouch. That was painful. I mean, really, have you met me?
I was always the cop, the stern parent or both. I never cheered on the successes of our clients. Every situation and every deal was just one more risk to manage until the client lied to me, stole from us and went out of business.
It was a self fulfilling prophecy.
With LDI, we made the decision to only bring on clients we could cheer for. It took time to figure out what that meant to us. We want to work with companies who are heading toward something positive – making decisions to propel their business forward. We want to work with our clients, cheer on every success and be a resource to help them achieve their goals.
Am I still the cop or stern parent? Of course. It is part of the job. I do find though that I get to cheer on more successes now than mitigate “bad stuff”.
In a recent meeting with a prospective client, I shared my cop, stern parent, cheerleader analogy. When I told the CEO that I could see all the reasons why helping their company made sense…that it all came down to being able to cheer for them and what they are trying to accomplish, her eyes welled up with tears.
We are our own worst enemies and we create our own monsters – real or imagined. In this case, there was a snowball effect of things that happened that put them in the position of seriously reduced sales, cash flow challenges and needing to devote time and resources to R & D. Throw in that pesky little economic implosion a couple years back and they have a hole to dig out of. That hole has felt like an abyss and they have felt like every time they claw their way up to the rim, something happens and they slide backwards. When that happens repeatedly, it feels easier to stop clawing and allow yourself to sink.
What I told her was this…you SURVIVED it! You are NOT at the bottom of the abyss. You ARE at the rim – bruised, bloody, battered, exhausted, AND, holding on. Pat yourself on the back. Throw yourself a party. Own that you survived it. And then, once the party is over, roll up your shirt sleeves because we have work to do to get you and your company over the rim and heading north!
Cheerleaders. Never underestimate the power of cheering for someone to reach their goals…