ABOUT TODAY’S GUEST | CHRIS HAMMOND
Chris Hammond is the Empire Division Manager for the Cutco/Vector Marketing sales organization, headquartered in Rochester, NY. A 27-year veteran with the company, Chris has produced over $86 million in sales, making him one of the top all-time achievers in the company’s Hall of Fame. Throughout his great career, Chris has truly been a shining example of enjoying the journey. He makes work fun, and he helps others under his guidance to cultivate happiness in all that they do. Chris is truly grateful for all the blessings in his life, and he exudes a positive attitude and spirit, both at work and at home with his family. Chris Hammond is one of the great role models on the Cutco/Vector leadership team.
Q&A WITH CHRIS HAMMOND
Q: Let’s start by hearing how you started with Cutco
- I got a letter in the mail, that program is one of the things that has stood the test of time.
- The rest is history. I met my manager and that’s how it began.
Q: Tell us some of your early experiences. What stands out, who stands out?
- Most of the managers I had growing up shaped a lot of my thinking today.
- Howie Kaplan was my first manager, and he taught me work can be fun. It should be fun. He taught me it was OK to enjoy nice things. I had never done that before
- Erika Deitz, my first division manager taught me not to make the mistakes that she made when she was young. She was like, “you’re going to make good money here, but it’s good to save some as well.” These were my earliest influences.
- My 2nd division manager Mike Huboky instilled in me the “work hard, play hard” mentality
- My regional manager was Al Dileonardo.
- Two of my recent RMs were Earl and Jeff, both of whom were great family men. I’ve worked with Jeff for 19 years and he has taught me so much.Not only having dreams, but pursuing them, going after them always with 100% integrity.
Q: As a sales rep, what were some of the experiences you remember?
- I remember meeting Steve Pokrzyk on a cruise. I just remember the overwhelming family atmosphere we have here and the importance of relationships. That was a big part of my joy and happiness. That’s what got me really addicted to this company.
Q: Why did you decide you wanted to be a district manager?
- When I graduated from college, I did an interview in my senior year, and it was actually one of the things they suggested to do.
- Basically, it came down not just the income opportunities and the flexibility. When I made my list, everything that I wanted was in Cutco. I wanted to stay in that atmosphere.
- Plus, I didn’t want a soul-draining job that I perceived many of my friends and family went into.
- This led me to do something that was a little bit non-traditional.
Q: You’ve advanced fairly quickly to become a division manager, 5 years, pretty fast advancement. Tell us about some of the values you’ve used to build your business?
- One of the values I remember was don’t sweat the small stuff. I think of making work fun, having fun with people in your organization.
- Keeping perspective that no matter how challenging things are, just be grateful for what you do have, and not taking myself too seriously. That’s a big value. Even today, I try to teach people that.
- That’s what kept me going a lot throughout the years.
Q: How about advancing to Division Manager? You got there pretty quickly and you’ve built a great team. What have been some of the factors in becoming a division manager?
- I’m not the person who can get concepts at the first try. I had to always work hard and let my skills catch up.
- I’ve also being told a lot that if you don’t quit, you keep getting promoted, so I just kept chugging along. I’ve had a lot of people, peers that have helped me do that.
- I also wanted to create opportunities for having a fun ex
- Another main success factor is having things to work for. Even when I was young and single, I envisioned a future family, envisioned having kids. I always try to tell people don’t just think of the here and now. You’ve got to think of yourself in the next 10, 20 or 30 years. Where are you going to be and who is going to rely on you.
- Even if I didn’t have kids when I was first a DVM, I knew I’d eventually want them. So that was a driving force for me.
- And, of course, my faith has been a huge factor for me. that’s been instrumental in getting through the difficulties.
Q: You’ve been here for 27 years. Why have you been doing the same thing for so long?
- I think it goes back to that longer term thinking of “hey, I may not be #1 or #2. I may not be in the top 10%, but I’m building something greater for the long term.”
- I always feel God gave us gifts and talents, and we’re supposed to bless others with them. I feel it’s a duty for me to give back. Give back all experiences that I was granted when I was in my first 10 years at the job.
- The relationships have also been a key for success with me. I can call a peer, RM or even the president and ask for advice. I know that’s very uncommon in other places. Knowing I have that support structure has been instrumental in wanting to stay here for so long.
Q: What are you excited about the future, personally?
- Outside of the business, I’m excited to travel with my family, show them the places I’ve been to. I want to show the kids Hawaii. I’m excited to get signature experiences with them.
- I want to do the coolest things I didn’t get to do when I was younger.
- I want my kids to learn all of the things I learned here in this company. I want to instill some skills and mentalities that aren’t provided in college. That’s something I want to pour into my family and friends and any person I meet in this company.
Q: Looking down the road, 5 to 10 years from now, how does Chris Hammond aspire to leave a legacy and change people’s lives through what he does?
- I try to focus on one person at a time, and help get someone get their dream job, whether here or elsewhere.
- Maybe selling Cutco isn’t their dream job like it is for me. I love hearing people accomplish great things after they left Vector.
- I also want to teach passion for life and passion for their choice of career. I think the world would be a better place if 90% of people enjoyed their jobs.
- I love the early lessons Chris learned from his initial leaders including enjoying life, doing things that enable you to enjoy yourself at the highest levels or experiences.
- But also keeping in mind saving and investing for your future is important. The lesson of working hard, playing hard. Balancing those 2 things really well.
- About family and importance of family. Chris is now passing on valuable lessons to his people.
- The lessons of perspective, not taking yourself too seriously, not sweating the small things that come up.
- The idea happiness is created internally. Chris talked about looking at opportunities when he graduated college. He said everything he wanted was here at Vector. What makes work meaningful including colleagues you respect and admire, enough impact on others so that you feel personal satisfaction, enough income to satisfy your core needs and work that provides intrinsic motivations to excel and enjoy what you do!
Show Notes for this episode provided by Brian Njenga.
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