Do the next generation of business leaders have what it takes? In the current economic climate, are those entering the workplace willing to do the difficult?
Megan Mackeigan, a vital part of Sandler’s next generation gives us her insight to these, and many more questions.
I work for two companies. I work for Sandler Training: the international organization that’s been working as a leader in our industry for nearly forty years. I also work for Sandler Training: the Dartmouth based company that has been engaging the Halifax market for nearly ten years. They are of course arms of the same company, and while Sandler is an international company with over 240 locations around the world, it is a licensed business that allows local leaders to run independent, successful companies.
Sandler International is beginning a new chapter. Many of the franchise owners are starting to look to retirement, and the next generation of Sandler trainers are considering taking over the Sandler operation for their own career path. I graduated from StFX University in 2008 and quickly accepted my first position in a business development role, selling advertising. I had the good fortune to participate in Sandler’s President’s Club Sales Training program at that time. I joined the company full time in December 2009.
Like many young people in the business development industry, I was presented with challenges from the beginning. Earning trust from our clients and prospects is vital, and often people base trust on experience rather than knowledge, ability or achievement. That’s normal. With a year and a half of sales under my belt, I had to step up and prove that I could perform not only as well, but better than anyone who had been training and consulting for decades. This meant a lot of hard work and dedication to my craft. I immediately made the decision to make Sandler my number one priority, and that is still the case today.
Since starting my career with Sandler I have been fortunate to develop a support group on a global level, finding encouragement and comradery with other ‘next generation Sandler trainers’ around the world. I am happy that includes Anneli Thomson, who became a partner in the United Kingdom franchises at the age of 23. We speak often and see each other three times a year at our Sandler International Conferences in Baltimore. She came to Nova Scotia a few summers ago, and I am heading to London, England in the fall to work with her in the UK head office for a few weeks. We rely on each other as young, driven Sandler trainers and she has been a huge inspiration to me.
Anneli and I have both had to overcome other’s preconceived notions as well as our own head trash. Anneli explains that “coaching, using Sandler attitude tools, journaling and working hard have grown my self-confidence and belief in my own ability.” I have had the same experience. I rely heavily on coaches to debrief every meeting with me, I journal every morning to review my goals and positive affirmations, and I follow the Sandler system with every prospect and client interaction I have. As a 25 year old working my way up, I am grateful that I have managers who support my efforts to maintain productive behaviors and a positive attitude. It is motivating to know that the leadership in my company include people who are genuinely invested in seeing me succeed, who lead by example and inspire me to be better every day. Anneli and I are both fortunate to have this advantage.
One thing both of our managers have done is include us in decisions about the direction of the company. They understand that we both have plans to run our company in the future. They keep us in the loop, and it creates a unique environment within the company. Anneli explains the dynamic of working with her management team well: “I had to learn to adapt my behaviour and emotions. However as I have grown, now I no longer work for them, we work together leading the company forward.” This sense of teamwork Anneli and her managers showcase is something we also strive for. Our relationship as equals grows more apparent every day as they include me in the decisions that shape the company.
As a Sandler Trainer I have become addicted to the work that we do. Anneli put it well when she said, “Watching my colleagues change through Sandler and its ethos, I gradually got more involved with the company. Every day I loved what I saw more and more, so have never looked back.” I feel the same. We have the privilege of helping people enjoy and be better in their careers. At Sandler we talk a great deal about being a “product of the product”, so by going to our Sandler conferences in the US three times a year, I have the opportunity to learn more and become better in my own career. It is a privilege I don’t take for granted.
Stay tuned for part 2 – coming soon!
Megan Mackeigan is based in Halix, Nova Scotia. She has been involved in Sandler Training for more than 3 years and in her spare time spends too much time with her Pug ‘Jay’ (he is adorable though!)