By Shane Phillips
I have to admit that I have never been much of a classroom person. That is the first thing I thought about when my manager approached me with the idea of taking the Dale Carnegie Leadership Training for Managers course. I wasn’t very excited about the idea at first. After all, I never really cared for school. But since he threw down the challenge, I reluctantly accepted.
Currently, I serve as the regional manager for northeast Alabama for Golden Flake, a snack food company headquartered in Birmingham. The company began more than 91 years ago and has expanded into 15 states. Its attention to detail, commitment to quality, customer service and to its staff and stockholders are its trademark. Although I did not know it at the time, I would soon learn that those same attributes are all directly related to many of the Dale Carnegie principles.
When I walked into the training room that first day, I still had my doubts. I felt a little intimidated, especially not knowing anyone. I consider myself to be somewhat of a shy person, which I believe has been holding me back. After attending a couple of sessions, it was as if a light went on and I began to feel more comfortable. I began to use the Dale Carnegie principles every day and set personal goals for myself. I wanted to think and do things outside the box. I also wanted to become a skilled communicator to effectively deal with people on a more professional level. I hoped to be able to see a side of things from different points of view. And I wanted to learn how to cope with stress and to not worry about the “small stuff.”
If I were to describe my Dale Carnegie experience, it would be to “expect the unexpected.” I never imagined to be chosen as the class recipient of the Innovation Award. The award is given to a participant who creatively combines ideas into new and useful concepts for their organization. The assignment was rigorous and the process demanding. But this was one more important step that helped set the stage for my long-awaited transition. It was an honor and a privilege to be recognized by my peers.
As you may have already guessed, there is no ending to this story. I must continue to live and practice the Dale Carnegie principles every day. Looking back on it all, I guess you could say that I took my own personal leap of faith. I can honestly say that it was well worth the effort. Not only have I become a better manager but a better person as a whole. My only question now is: When is the next class?!!!
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