Volume 35, Number 7, July 2000



Under the Influence

how do you and your business affect
the actions of others?

by Max Perilstein

Before I became a USGlass columnist, this was the issue I couldn’t wait to see —who are the most influential people in our industry and why. So it got me thinking and the following came out on the screen:

When I sat down to write this column I began to think of the things that caused me to volunteer my time. I thought of my desire to inform and educate and to spread the word about our industry. Then my thoughts turned to the whole issue of “influence” and my mind raced.

First and foremost, the dictionary defines “influence” as:

1a: The act or power of producing an effect without apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command;

1b: Corrupt interference with authority for personal gain;

2: The power or capacity of causing an effect in indirect or intangible ways.

At this point you may be thinking, “where is he going with this influence stuff?” Well it dawned on me that influences abound and they affect our business in more ways than you may think. The more we delve into what these influences are the better the business can run.

Some questions to ponder: who are the people that affect your business style? What are the things that inspire your coworkers or workforce? Do you know or care? Have you ever thought about it before? What persuades your customers? Does it affect their judgment in buying from you? And lastly, who is the major influence in how you live your life?

Whether you pay attention to it or not, your business style has come from either a singular person or possible combination of people. The lessons they may have taught you are probably not readily apparent on the surface but they exist inside you. Recognizing those issues is nothing but healthy and will help you focus on your business plan.


Knowing the Influences

Knowing what influences your coworkers or workforce is crucial. Are they moved to action by their respect for the owner? I’ve been through glass fabrication plants where the only reason some employees come into work each day is out of their immense desire to not let their owner down. At one plant, a few people told me that while they hate their immediate supervisor and the plant manager was a “demon,” their respect for the ownership was what drove (influenced) them each day. Having a better idea of what influences your coworkers or workforce can make your operation run more efficiently.

Now, think about your customers. Why do they choose to buy from you? Is it all pricing and service? In many cases a solid relationship with an inside or an outside sales person is the difference between companies battling for an order. I’ve also seen people buy from a certain operation solely because they had the most pleasant, upbeat receptionist and that the customer looked forward to hearing her delightful voice each day. Don’t underestimate this point in trying to further your business agenda. Developing a solid relationship with your accounts can pay major dividends. Being able to influence and know what affects your dealings gives you an edge on the rest of the pack.

Overall, I dug deeper into this subject than I thought I would. Maybe after reading this column people will think I was “under the influence” when I wrote it.

I must note, however, that the person who has influenced the way I live my life the most is my father. He is a great, classy, incredibly unselfish man that I hope to emulate. I can only hope that I influence my family and my co-workers the way he has done his.

wpe2.jpg (2313 bytes)Max Perilstein is vice president/general manager of PDC Glass of Michigan. His column appears bimonthly.


Copyright 2000 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.