Evan’s Corner: Expanding Horizons
By Evan Coulter
In everyone’s life, change arrives like clockwork. And for most of us, change stirs up strong emotions. The emotions might range from excitement to fear to nervousness.
After 15 years at UCEC in a variety of positions, my role has shifted quite considerably and I’m looking at new horizons within the company as the VP of Business Operations. We’ve blogged about this change before: UCEC hired John Beattie to oversee the shop operations (my previous responsibility). It’s been a few months and John is off and running. He’s doing a fantastic job.
As for me, for the first time in my tenure at UCEC, I’m not involved in the day-to-day mechanics of operating a panel shop. I have to admit, it’s hard to let go of what I used to do. After all, I started back in the shop building panels.
But with change comes an open door and you have to grab the chance and walk through it. Of course, lots of questions come to mind with new opportunities: I know how to do the “old” thing; will I be successful in this new role? My comfort zone was over there; can I find a new comfort zone where I am now?
Luckily for me, UCEC has provided a consultant/mentor for me to work with in this transition. And after working with him, I have three guidelines that might help anyone facing a big change. I hope they help someone you know...or maybe even yourself!
1. Attitude: It’s Everything
I tell this to my kids: If you think it’s going to be good or it’s going to be bad, it’s going to be exactly what you think. Attitude is definitely key to anything in life. I’m facing my new position with an attitude that’s positive. I’m ready to learn and grow.
2. Find Expert Help in a Mentor
I’m a natural introvert. One thing I’ve learned in working with my mentor, Steve, is that I should never try to change my personality. It would be the worst thing for me to enter a meeting with a client slapping backs and being the “outside sales guy” with the gregarious personality. It’s not going to work. Instead, I’m learning to lead with my strengths (see my next point).
3. Start from a Place of Comfort and Strength
Steve and I identified one of my greatest strengths: I have a good technical knowledge about electrical control panels and industrial automation. So, I start with that. Also, we’ve developed great relationships with our customers. I am comfortable talking with those customers. So, there’s another place where I can use my natural gifts and talents in my new position.
For instance, I can talk to customers I know well and take it to a deeper level now. What are we doing well? What can we improve upon? These conversations can lead to better outcomes for both the customer and for UCEC.
The best thing about change is that it’s an opportunity to step back and evaluate where your strengths lie and how you can use them for your organization. At the same time, you are also able to draw a line in the sand regarding values. UCEC is a highly ethical organization, so with every change in my position that occurs, I have great guardrails in place already. We’ll never sacrifice our core values for success as a company. And as an individual, I won’t either.
Evan’s previous position was VP of Operations for UCEC. His new role is VP of Business Operations.