Channel Champion Blog

lemonade from lemonsRecently I experienced a blown-out knee. As a practicing triathlete, the state of limited mobility has been beyond frustrating. Anyone who encountered me at Baptie’s Channel Focus event can attest to my frustration. So can my wife, who has had to deal with my restless soul, trapped on crutches. However, as always there is a silver lining, and as is most often the case, the silver lining really has little to do with me.

The change has been in how others have treated me. And, in full transparency, how I have responded. In this current economic and geo-political environment, we spend so much time in anger, angst or confusion that we often forget how the vast majority of people respond to those in need and those who are humbled (regardless of how they got there). And that is with kindness and a willingness to help.

As I have hobbled around on crutches at home, work, even the gym, the kindness of not just my friends, but of so many strangers, has been amazing. And not just peripheral niceties. I have met and engaged with more people in the last 30 days at my gym than in the last six years. Ironically, so many of these people I had seen dozens of times but never even spoke with. Now people who had an injury of any variety not only open doors, but take the time to chat about anything and everything. And I, for once, have slowed down to listen and engage.

So how does this tie into the channel? There is much that we can take away from personal experiences like this that can directly benefit our business lives.

  1. Slow down and engage – be in the present. They are one partner to you, but they are the only partner to them.
  2. Be humble – it is amazing what people will do for those who are unpretentious. And that does not preclude brilliance and maximum effort, just presented the right way.
  3. Be appreciative – and learn to make it genuine, I believe it is a learned skill. So many people want to be helpful and are looking for the right moment and situation.

Slow down and engage. They are one partner to you, but they are the only partner to them. Click To TweetThese three simple ideas can make a world of difference in how a partner responds to you and your organization. True, we have to focus on enablement, growth, incentives and everything else that goes into maximizing the channel, but sometimes it seems like we forget about the soft skills that have a lot to do with long-term, mutually beneficial relationships.

The past 30 days, and the next 60 to 90, have me recognizing the tremendous giving capabilities of others. I need to improve my ability to respond and my desire to keep all of this in mind once I am through this ordeal. For me, a new perspective on an old need… soft skills indeed.



Steven Kellam, President at CCI

Steven Kellam PictureAs a growth specialist, Steven is responsible for driving CCI’s evolution to expand its offerings and grow across its product suite, utilizing marketing to position the organization for continued, long-term success. He is also responsible for developing the strategic alliances necessary for CCI to achieve its revenue and profit goals, including technical alliances, service partnerships and sales relationships. Steven has experience in both the VAR space, having run a successful managed services IT business, and a background in manufacturing where he built a channel of over 2,000 partners.