Help Your Neighbor Grow Good Corn

By Liz Richards, MHEDA CEO

Liz CornLast October I was invited to attend a Kion dealer meeting (thank you to Vincent Halma and the Kion team!) and while I was there, I was able to talk with many MHEDA members as well as with a few distributors who are not currently members.  One of the questions we are most often asked by non-members is “why should I join MHEDA?”  When you have a short window to address this question, it can be a challenge.  As most of you know, MHEDA means different things to different people.  Typically I will respond with a question to try to uncover the issues they face in their dealership so I can match their needs with MHEDA offerings.  This can be a daunting task when you only have a matter of a few minutes.  Most often I turn directly to the Critical Impact Factors (defined by the MHEDA Board each year) and ask, “Are you encountering any of these issues?”

As MHEDA’s Chairman Scott Lee points out in his column on page 13, reviewing the CIFs in the context of your organization is a perfect way to work on your business versus in your business.  Dare I say, few people take the time to really do this well.  At any rate, when a non-member reads the CIFs and sees how they correlate to their own reality, it provides the perfect opportunity to explain how MHEDA can help industry professionals address these challenges through education offerings, networking forums, informational resources, benchmarking, etc.

Many of you subscribe to Doug Cartland’s Four-Minute Leadership Advisory.   His November 17 issue provided a perfect analogy as to why it makes sense to belong to a trade association.  I asked Doug for permission to share it here…

There was a Nebraska farmer who grew award-winning corn.  Each year, he entered his corn in the state fair where it won a blue ribbon.  One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew it.  The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbors.

“How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?” the reporter asked.

“Why sir,” said the farmer, “Didn’t you know?  The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls if from field to field.  If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn.  If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn.”

When I read this, I am reminded of how many hundreds of members over the years have been willing to share their advice, insight and expertise all for the betterment of the industry-at-large.  Doesn’t it make sense to be surrounded by educated and professional competitors who help to raise the bar of the entire industry?  I think so…

By now you should have received information about MHEDA’s upcoming Convention and you’ll see how MHEDA members and industry professionals are willing to “help their neighbors grow good corn.”  Passion with Purpose is all about community mindedness, social responsibility and being a good steward in business and in life.  I hope you will join us as we all come together to learn more about how to address the challenges we all face and take the steps to further strengthen and grow our respective organizations.

P.S.  If you would like to subscribe to Doug’s newsletter, visit him here at: dougcartland.com.  For a complete list of the 2016 Critical Impact Factors, visit mheda.org.