President's Message: Who Are You?

Posted by Kenyon Gleason on 1/14/22 1:38 PM

Kenyon Gleason, NASGW President

During my professional career, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to be involved in many strategic reviews, branding campaigns, and analyzing the overall mission and vision of a variety of employers.

Sometimes these strategic reviews consist of a small “update” to an existing plan. And in some cases, the process is much more comprehensive, in-depth, and ends up creating a complete overhaul.

I’m certain that many of you have been involved in these exercises, or possibly even invited in a strategic planner to help facilitate the conversations. Whether you use the standard strengths, weakness, opportunity, threat (SWOT) matrix for your conversations or take a different angle, the information you glean can be exceptionally valuable and sometimes maybe even a bit surprising.

When I first started at NASGW, this was one of the first things we did with the Board of Directors. We looked deeply at who we believed ourselves to be and looked toward what we thought we could become. We asked our members who they thought we were and what they might like us to focus on in the years ahead. We even talked to people who really weren’t involved in our organization but knew about us from a distance. We let them share their perceptions and beliefs as well. We got some interesting responses – some expected and some not so much.

From those conversations, we created a mission and vision. We formulated goals and a strategy for the future. We told ourselves and we told the industry that we were going to do ‘Big Things.’ And we set about making them happen.

Our mission and vision statements probably read a bit like you might expect:

Mission: To service our membership through strong, trusted relationships between shooting sports buyers and sellers.

Vision: NASGW will be the indispensable and trusted business partner for the U.S. shooting sports trade.

Maybe yours are similar. These two sentences give you the 50,000 foot view. But looking closer at our values of collaboration, partnership, commitment, innovation, trust, and integrity, you see us in closer view. And of course, as the only trade association in the industry supporting two-step distribution, that pretty much defines the organization. It’s, in a nutshell, what we try to look like.

I think we could all admit, these are nice platitudes, right? Some great things to accomplish and achieve. We probably all aspire to look a bit like that. But how do you put in motion the things to help you look like that?

That’s where the GOALS come into play. And over the past 7 years our goals have changed a bit with each revision of strategy, but for as long as I’ve been here, our number one goal is this: “Revolutionize Information Sharing Through Data Management.”

We have other goals, like enhancing and promoting the organization and our reach, engaging at deeper levels with our members and with those we serve, and of course making sure our Expo remains a valuable and vital event for our members. All of these are important. But through it all, the use and promotion of data for our industry has remained our top priority and focus.

At times of doubt, we just keep putting one foot in front of the other. As the late Gary Zurn of Big Rock Sports used to say when frustration or uncertainty popped up, “Kenyon, we just need to keep moving forward. You know and I know this is the right thing for this industry. Just stay with it.” Before his untimely passing last fall, Gary was an incredible champion of this initiative. He understood the big picture. Frankly, our entire board and every voting wholesaler member “gets” it. Together we are stronger. Together we can do big things.

So together, we march toward new territory, and we reach new horizons and milestones often. Folks, we’re working toward and will soon have the largest source of industry sales and inventory data available. It won’t even be close. And we did it for you.

We often speak about the NASGW SCOPE™ program as a distributor-led, industry owned platform. It’s true. Without the help of hundreds of retailers, some flat-out amazing point-of-sale providers, business analysts and computer programmers, supportive manufacturers, and an incredible amount of trust from our wholesalers, none of this would have been possible.

In fact, if we’d have listened to the naysayers, none of this would be real today. But like those who venture off in search of glory to climb Mount Everest or K2, we are nearing the summit and are now realizing the fruits of those struggles.

It’s our hope that companies across the industry will begin to understand the power and value of data for their business decisions. It’s our belief that if everyone along the channel understands what’s happening in other parts of the channel, every single business in this industry will reap the rewards.

We did this, developed this, worked overtime for this… because in today’s business world, data is king. You can’t know where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been. You can’t make decisions about the future unless you know where you are today and where you want to be tomorrow. The industry is evolving. The ways of doing business are changing dramatically. To stay at the leading edge of this change, you’ve got to understand the landscape. The SCOPE™ suite of tools gives our members an incredible opportunity to view and use data to make intelligent decisions about their future, while at the same time increasing data reliability and consistency. The capability you gain and the possibilities available to you and your company, by using data and analytical tools, is almost unmeasurable. Data can truly take you where you want to go.

So, if you haven’t asked yourself “Who Am I?” lately. Or you haven’t asked “Who/What is this company?”, I encourage you to do so. Dig deep and find out who you are. We did. And we’re going to be shouting from the rooftops here very soon just who we are, and we think you’re going to like what you see.

Please keep an eye out in the coming months, we’re going to be rolling out a lot of information about how you and your company can take advantage of SCOPE™ and the entire platform we’ve built. We’ve got a lot of big ideas and we just know you’re going to enjoy the opportunity to benefit from them.

Until next time,

Kenyon Gleason
NASGW President

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