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Where We Place Ourselves Matters

Textiles tpicos de GuatemalaThe end of April, I was on a mountain in the Mayan highlands of Guatemala celebrating my daughter and son-in-law’s marriage. It was conducted in three languages: Spanish, Quiche (a Mayan language), and English.

This wasn’t the first time that I had been in the highlands of Guatemala. It was my eighth with my first time being in 1984, toward the end of a bloody civil war. That first trip, I was there to hear and learn the circumstances of those impacted by a war largely paid for by my country.

Subsequent to that first trip, our church, over-several years, took into shelter two political refuge families from that same war. Later, I employed for a number of years one of the adult children of one of those families. 15 years after that first trip, members of our congregation began accompanying the resettlement of the ‘home-village’ of one of the second of those two refugee families, a village that had been abandoned 10 years earlier, after half of its members were massacred.

Going back to the time of that first visit to Guatemala, my family was living in a largely Mexican-American Chicago neighborhood and our two daughters were attending a pre-school and grade school with children whose first language was Spanish. The youngest of our daughters was the one who last month got well married in three languages in Guatemala. The older daughter previously taught high-school Spanish for five years and does among other things, translation work.

Where we place ourselves matters.

It also matters when we do technology projects. I am a Salesforce.com consultant and have been involved in a number of projects where I have become increasingly aware of the impact of choosing where I place myself.

In explaining my company’s app, do I talk to the person who understands it and invited me to present, or to the one in the meeting who has never before heard of it.

Where we place ourselves matters.

I was recently involved in a project to expand the usage of Salesforce.com in a high-tech company. They wished to manage and report on their customer’s data around a banking system’s online authentications processes with their customers– the security codes that we get by phone, when logging into certain financial systems.

Our customer had several departments involved with the project. We were asked to place/align ourselves with one of the departments. It turns out that we really needed the other department to help implement the solution. We had placed ourselves badly and it impacted the project in terms of the solutions available and the time to completion.

A-little-over-a-year-ago, I decided that the Salesforce partner companies in the Chicago area needed a place to talk with each other and learn explore reasons for collaboration. We began with twelve of us. This month, there are now 80+. We began by meeting face-to-face and deciding that there were more opportunities for us as collaborators, than there were risks to ourselves as competitors.

My company, Global Tech & Resources has done several projects with other Salesforce partner companies; and is currently exploring a couple possibilities for long-term ongoing partnering. We see these partnerships as key to accelerating our growth.

Guatemala green shiny map

Where we place ourselves matters, for good and for bad.

What stories do you have of placing yourself well, or not?

What have you learned by where you have placed yourself?

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