A year ago, I left Vegas completely electrified by my new family here at Extreme. Then came the work to complete our final acquisition, 5 months of traveling the world on our ExtremeNOW tour, and our first ever global users’ conference: Extreme Connect. Not to mention, a continuous evolution of the organization to align us for success, which had me moving from Product Marketing to Sales Enablement to my current role leading Field Sales Engineering for the Americas.
Needless to say, that spark from a year ago was starting to flicker. I came to Vegas this year wondering just how I was going to find the energy to Elevate “MY” Game. Not to mention, I was completely distracted with the challenge of maintaining a tight knit culture, while simultaneously creating domain based teams within the field.
Thankfully, there’s nothing like the annual Global Sales Kick-Off (SKO) to recharge your battery. Of course, my family also closed out the summer break with 2 weekends of concerts by a couple of my favorite artists: Jason Aldean and Panic! At the Disco. With a fresh charge and clear head, I found a new perspective.
Sun in our eyes backs to the fences
We didn’t know the odds were against us
Hit the wall smoking and spinning
Still wasn’t thinking ‘bout nothing but winning
– The Only Way I Know, Jason Aldean
[Jason Aldean Performing]
Despite the insane tempo of the past 12 months, everyone at SKO readily accepted the challenge to “Elevate Your Game.” Yes, we were tired, but we fed off one another’s passion. We spent our time honing skills and leveraging the face to face access to discuss opportunities and potential. It’s hard to be distracted by the challenges when you’re consumed by discussions on how to win.
The excitement of last year hadn’t faded. It simply changed faces. We’re no longer newlyweds. We’ve grown past just being happy to be a single, networking focused company. We’ve set our sights on the stars. We’ve seen the industry reception to our portfolio and vision in the 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrants for Wired and Wireless LAN Access Infrastructure and Data Center Networking. We’ve seen adoption in the market with both existing and new customers. We know we can win, and we’re all eager to prove it to the rest of the world.
Had to have high, high hopes for a living
Shooting for the stars when I couldn’t make a killing
Didn’t have a dime but I always had a vision
Always had high, high hopes
– High Hopes, Panic! At the Disco
[Panic! At the Disco Performing]
Going from a country concert the weekend after SKO to a punk rock concert the next also reminded me of the common threads that tie us together, regardless of the differences on the surface. “The Only Way I Know” and “High Hopes” are both about keeping your eye on the prize despite the world around you. They come from completely different genres and perspectives, but they’re both on the same playlist that I listen to when I’m looking for motivation.
Likewise, creating domains to improve scale and focus doesn’t mean losing our tight knit culture. We all share the desire to win and make Extreme a great place to work. We’re all driven by a passion for our customers. Our common themes actually bring us together to collaborate as a stronger team. What seemed like a challenge just a few weeks ago, has turned into a huge asset.
Last year was electrifying, but this year was different. It wasn’t just excitement and anticipation. It was passion and determination. Everyone was deliberate and focused. Rather than goose bumps, I walked away ready for battle and surrounded by an army of purple clad renegades prepared to do the same. We set our eyes on the prize, and we’re going to work harder than everyone else in the industry every single day to get there.
If you run across me with my earbuds in and fire in my eyes, you know which playlist is on…and I’ll happily switch to speaker if you’d like to come along for the ride.
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