At FreshXperts, we are regularly called into situations tapping our expertise and many years of produce industry experience. As we approach different business situations, we often take on the role of teachers. What I find truly rewarding and beneficial about that teaching role is this: As I share my insights and experiences in my role as teacher, I am also learning from our clients, as they share their business experience and perspective with me.
All of us have had memorable teachers – both good and bad. We may remember a teacher or coach from grade school who spotted something special in us, taking us under his or her wing to nurture or challenge us to our full potential. Or a teacher that saw us truly struggling to “get” something, providing special attention or encouragement in that area. And, on the other side of the coin, most of us had a teacher that did not “get” us – someone we do not remember fondly.
In the produce industry, there have been people that have taught and mentored me. That’s one of the things I enjoy about working with the other FreshXperts – I’m constantly learning from a broad spectrum of industry experience.
But many of my most valuable lessons also come from clients, the people of the businesses that employ us to help provide solutions. Some teachers have a particular knack for having what is called a “spirit of inquiry” in some teaching circles – an attitude that keeps the teacher learning about the subject they’re teaching, no matter how basic the subject. Even a kindergarten teacher can keep a fresh perspective on basic knowledge, seeing the ABCs of life through the eyes of their students.
The best teachers are approachable and maintain humility, even when they’re in a setting where they may have the most expertise in the room. I’m finding that when I keep that approach, I usually end up learning something from our clients that makes my advice better and gives me better perspective for the future. That helps create a real partnership and develops the kind of team environment where challenges are most likely to be overcome and problems get solved.
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