Homework features AHAM members’ insights on careers, success, life outside of work, and AHAM membership. This month, we spoke with Dan Query, Vice President and General Manager of Product Line Management at Electrolux Home Products NA and a member of AHAM's Board of Directors.
Name three goals (personal or professional) you are pursuing in 2018.
Live a patient lifestyle, prioritizing family values. Being an empty nester, I plan to continue to spend time with family throughout the year, regardless of where they are located geographically.
With more than 30 years of experience in the appliance industry, I want to build a brand as a “developer of talent.” I hope to share more stories and experiences with others in an effort to advance their leadership skills.
Be a servant leader by listening and valuing the ideas of others and foreseeing the consequences of decisions taken. It is important for employees to have confidence in their leaders’ ability to observe patterns in the environment and anticipate what the future will bring.
How do you jumpstart your morning?
My energy is highest in the morning. More times than not, I arrive at work before the demands of the day begin to surface. Devoting yourself to a simple morning routine, and tackling the toughest tasks first, typically leads to a more productive and successful day.
Predict an innovation that will revolutionize the next generation.
The connected appliance is by far the biggest technology challenge in the home appliance industry. The key is to keep things as simple as possible while focusing on providing value for the consumer. Smart appliances present brands with a variety of opportunities, but none of them can reach their full potential without overcoming the challenges from a lack of security and data protection, true consumer benefit, interoperability, high cost, and legacy components. It is only a matter of time before brands start taking full advantage of it. The challenges will be solved and standards are further defined.
What is the best career advice you have ever received?
Everyone has their own unique journey in life. No matter what career stage you are in, whether you are looking for your first job, or have years of experience on your resume, it’s important to never stop learning. Be curious and ask questions. Throughout my career, I have sought out friends and professionals who have my best interest at heart. There was a time early in my career where I was presented the choice of either a promotion into a product planning role or making a lateral move into a brand marketing/merchandising role. After seeking counsel from more experienced leaders, I took the lateral move. The experience taught me how to structure a brand portfolio around the target consumer, with brand messaging. With a broader perspective of the front end and back end of the business, I was able to be much more effective in subsequent general manager positions over product business teams.
What home appliance can you not live without?
After seeing past research, I am surprised why induction hasn’t fully taken off yet in the U.S. This past summer, I was fortunate to be a part of a field test for an Electrolux induction front control range. It didn’t take long for me to see how induction cooktops can change performance so quickly: from gently melting butter and chocolate, to bringing water to a boil in less than three minutes. Induction is already popular in other countries; until recently, it has been a hard sell in the U.S. However, growing consumer awareness is helping ranges and cooktops with this cooking technology gain a foothold.
What do you gain from your involvement with AHAM?
The appliance industry is facing a lot of new issues – cybersecurity, trade tariffs, complex government regulations and increased global competition. By networking with the voice of the industry and sitting at the table with competitors in a lawful forum to develop public policy solutions, our industry can provide added value and services for consumers.
What is your best advice you have for somebody who wants to succeed in the home appliance industry?
My advice is to find a coach and to be a coach because you’ll learn a great deal from both of these experiences. When you find the right coach, they not only develop you in the current job, but also for the future. By being a coach, you not only help another person learn and grow in confidence and self-esteem, but also have a positive effect on their careers by helping them take action towards achieving their goals. Success today is more about thinking like an entrepreneur by taking more risks than those who have spent their careers respecting corporate hierarchies and processes. Enthusiastically bring forward new ways of thinking. Network with people that come from diverse households and backgrounds. This will give you a wider point of view that can help open eyes and change the world ahead.
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Paulo da Silva