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May 01 2018
Challenge to Change Your Thinking
April Tanner, CCE, Kimball Equipment

Several years ago, after attending a class, I decided to change my thinking/my mindset about interruptions. Instead of thinking of the calls and emails from customers, finance companies and salesman as interruptions, I changed my thoughts and count them as part of my job - they became much less frustrating. Changing my thinking did not stop the inflow of emails, calls, requests and desk visits (what many call interruptions) but freed my mind from thinking I was not doing my job. These were in fact a vital part of my job and handling them quickly and efficiently was achieving both my goals and my employer's goals.

As credit professionals we must work with salesman, customers and finance companies in order to achieve the results our companies require to increase or maintain profitability and sales while decreasing risk of bad debt and loss. Accomplishing company goals involves many skills and tasks but all require communication. We all know the value of communication. It is stressed in numerous classes. I often hear credit professionals begging for their customers and salesmen to communicate with them. Later, that same credit professional will complain that the sales emails/calls them too often or that a customer emails them too often. Even though they may be emailing you a great deal, they are communicating with you. What if our complaints about too many calls/emails are the cause of a lack of communication? Maybe the salesman or customer tried to communicate, and we thought of it as an interruption and through comments or body language we conveyed a different message from what we really desired.

This concept came up in one of our accounting department meetings. Our accounting department was challenged recently to change our mindset about our work with all our other locations. Headquarters for Kimball is here in SLC and all accounting functions are performed in our SLC office. We were asked to think of our other locations as customers to our accounting department. We were asked to consider our communication with these locations with a customer in mind - not a co-worker. It was a challenge for some in the department and it is still a work in progress. But, overall, everyone could see the value in changing our thinking in accounting to improve overall company performance.

Changing my perception helped me so that what I once thought of as interruptions, I now (mostly) think of them as communication to do my job of providing the best customer experience I can for both internal (company employees) and external customers.