There’s a line from an old song by the Eagles, “Already Gone,” that makes the point, “So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains…and we never even know we have the key.” In a sense, we’re bound by our inability to see the solution to sometimes simple problems.
That observation applies to business as much as it does to life in general. During the course of his long and winding career, Ray Stasieczko has discovered that most common business problems are not complicated, but executives have a penchant for shackling themselves in a search for the solution.
“Too many leaders make things complicated and get bogged down in needing absolutes and miss what the unknown may reveal,” said Stasieczko, a veteran of more than 25 years in the imaging industry and a 2017 ENX Magazine Difference Maker. “Sometimes, what is right in front of us is just camouflaged. Solving problems is much easier when you start where things are and then follow the trail back to where they began. The ability to follow the trail and ask the right question is the key.”
Stasieczko has blazed an all-encompassing career path through the office technology world. After a three-year hitch as a U.S. Army MP and a 12-year term in the grocery business with Winn-Dixie, he landed a sales representative position with Lanier. His journey followed with a 10-year dealership stint in various positions with Modern Office Methods in Wichita, KS (including owner) before selling the company to KK Office Systems, where he spent six years as an executive vice president and shareholder. He later founded mailing software solutions provider MAPA Systems before joining ImageQuest, which specializes in managed services.
All of these experiences have helped shape Stasieczko in his role today as a consultant, writer and industry thought leader. “The ability to use creativity is very rewarding,” he said. “In the early days, you occasionally ran across a prospect who did not have a copier or knew they needed one. The business was fresh and the ability to solve real problems was exciting. Sometimes you had to make them aware they had a problem.
“Value selling is so much more rewarding when there are real problems to solve. This fact is what drives me to help create new deliverables within our channel.”
Stasieczko has benefited from the guidance of numerous industry leaders who have helped shape his business evolution. The late Gary Moore took a chance on Stasieczko, even though he wasn’t a prototypical Lanier sales rep (“I have been known to be a maverick of sorts,” he admits). Harold Morris taught him the business side of the dealership world, while Michael Stramaglio inspired him from a technology viewpoint. More recently, ImageQuest’s Milton Bartley imparted on him the notion that any dealer can reinvent what they are determined to reinvent.
And it was Stasieczko’s grandmother who shared a slice of worldly wisdom that is quite suited for the business space. “She told me to always surround myself with those who can make up for my deficiencies, and never allow my ego to keep me from admitting those deficiencies,” he said.
Stasieczko is now on a quest to create what he calls the “innovational channel,” to help dealers face the challenges and threats confronting the industry and lay the foundation for a better future. He penned a quote during the time of the Radio Shack bankruptcy that spoke to the urgency of forward thinking: “A company becomes obsolete when they focus on bringing the past to the future instead of bringing the future to the present.”
“When the imaging or distribution channel thinks this way, their deliverable becomes inherently relevant,” Stasieczko said. “My goal is to help lead channel sales organizations in delivering and selling constant relevancy. This approach is much more sustainable than constantly fighting to remain relevant without change.”
When he’s not championing relevancy, Stasieczko and his wife, Liz, love to travel and learn about the history of the places they visit and the people they encounter along the way.
“Off the beaten path, we’ve stayed in unusual places—Yurts and Earthships are examples,” Stasieczko said. “We enjoy the sun and water of South America, the cobblestone roads of Eastern Europe, and the beautiful landscape of Western Canada.”