Azione Unlimited (AU) held its first Middle Manager’s Meeting recently at the Embassy Suites in Chicago’s O’Hare Airport May 16-17, 2017. Part of the Azione 2.0 initiative, which seeks to enhance communications and collaboration between its members, the inaugural event brought together 50 Azione dealer attendees and select vendor sponsors to discuss challenges specific to sales managers and other mid-level employees.
For two full days, the Azione Middle Manager’s Meeting offered informative group sessions, roundtables, and open discussions on a variety of topics, such as the biggest challenges that managers face and how to create harmony between the sales, design, and installation departments. In addition, Brad Whitehead, principal of VX Strategy, a management consulting firm specializing in organizational developmental, strategic planning, and tactical execution, gave presentations on Process Management and Rhythm; Talent Development; and measuring profitability. Whitehead’s presentations were standing-room-only at the Spring Conference, and he’s also co-presenting the Brad2 webinar series for Azione members.
“Brad Whitehead [has] a wealth of knowledge, so I always enjoy hearing what he has to say,” said Azione member Monika Hill of Fusion Media Systems, Kirkwood, MO. “Brad’s presentations and the roundtable discussions both focused on employee interaction and communication within our companies. I'm excited to start working on improving communication between the office and the field as well as making sure that we are defining and encouraging our company's culture.”
“I thought I was struggling with certain issues, like staffing for instance, but found through the sessions held during the Azione Middle Managers Meeting that these types of issues are generally experienced industry-wide,” commented member Brian Dempsey, operations manager for Residential Systems Inc. and Valhalla Integration of Lakewood, CO.
Dealers also had the opportunity to meet and network with the six vendors who sponsored the event: Access Networks, Audio Control, LG, Liberty AV Solutions, Séura, and Sonance. These vendors enjoyed the spotlight during 45-minute presentations and were able to demonstrate their newest products and discuss sales techniques with dealer employees on the front lines of sales and purchasing decisions.
“Typically, our Spring and Fall conferences are attended by business owners and c-suite executives. While it’s important for these decision-makers to connect with vendors and with each other, not many middle managers have the opportunity to experience the camaraderie, knowledge-sharing, and networking of an Azione session,” said Azione Unlimited president and founder Richard Glikes. “Our Middle Management Meeting was designed to build a deeper engagement with all our members, and to ensure Azione programs, benefits, and initiatives are as deeply understood as possible through every tier of our member organizations.”
“I thought it was a very successful meeting,” said Ron Lennox of Definitive Electronics, Jupiter, FL. “There was a great deal of idea sharing and useful tips to try back at the office. The roundtables, for me, are typically one of the high points of any Azione meeting. Here with the folks that are on the ground and dealing with the everyday issues in running an integration company, this was even more true than usual. I look forward to Azione doing this again.”
Members should expect announcements of additional Middle Management Meetings soon. In the meantime, Azione members are invited to stay in touch through the group’s Slack channel, Facebook page, and Twitter.