Sam Rosen, ’01 BSB, is vice president of sales for Solar Plastics and general manager of its sister company, Fluidall, both based in Delano, Minnesota. Solar Plastics is a custom contract manufacturer of rotational molded plastics, serving global leaders in coolers, construction, agriculture, recreational vehicles, and other markets. Rosen is also a member of the Alumni Board at the Carlson School. Here he shares five bits of wisdom he has discovered so far during his career.
1. “You can get everything you ever wanted out of life if you help enough other people get what they want.”
This is a quote I heard a long time ago. It has proven to be true throughout my career and especially in networking. If you focus on networking for the sole purpose of finding a job or landing a prospect, it will often fall short. Be interested in people and what you can do to help them. This behavior will pay it back to you many times over.
2. We don’t have a monopoly on good ideas and perspectives.
I’ve been fortunate to travel all over the world and work with hundreds of people with varying nationalities. Experiencing other cultures and having my assumptions challenged by those from vastly different backgrounds has made me a better leader and well-rounded person.
3. Strategy and big thinking is great, but daily execution gets results.
Talking about and working on strategy is one of my favorite parts of this job, but I’ve found that when the entire organization is focused on the details and the grind of daily execution, we get the best results. Don’t trick yourself into thinking your job is done when your strategy session is complete.
4. Don’t be afraid to solicit feedback and constructive criticism.
We all have our blinders, and tend to skew our judgements more to our intentions than our results. Seek feedback and constructive criticism, not just at your review time or from your supervisor, but from others you respect. Important point—Do not give excuses, reasons, or argue when you are receiving feedback. Just say thank you. The more truly open you are to receiving, the more honest and often the feedback will be.
5. “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
Whoever said this must have been a professional wine taster. After all, it is called work for a reason. While I don’t think that quote is realistic, it is important to enjoy your work. We spend too much time at our job to be miserable. Pick a career doing interesting work that challenges you.
Bonus: You will never regret the times you ate at Al’s Breakfast.