This past week, I was
fortunate to be able to attend two very impressive professional development
conferences sponsored by the USAV Group and the National Systems Contractors (BLC). On day two of the USAV Conference, Chuck Wilson (President of NSCA) lead a group
discussion/workshop about how to use metrics to accelerate performance as well
as shifting the focus from hardware and software sales to more about creating a
better ”customer “experience” One company that was cited for their commitment
to changing the customer experience is Sonic Automotive who have created a more high tech, pleasant way to purchase a used car.
presentation given by Dr. Leanne Buehler was on “Understanding Workplace Motivation”
I must admit, as a veteran business owner, I was fascinated by the survey
information Leanne presented about what was important to top performers.
At the top of the list? Trust in senior leaders followed by opportunities for
development, recognition for work, ability to share ideas, clear expectations
and workload. Last on the list? Compensation. That was pleasant surprise to me
since I admit that I worry about that very issue at ISI on a daily basis.
At day one of the NSCA/BLC we
got a chance to hear Dr. Lee McPheters discuss the economic outlook for the
construction industry as well as the US overall. Although some of the data Dr.
McPheters presented was a bit depressing (GDP forecast 3.2% vs 2.4% actual) I
must say I’ve never heard a more entertaining, funny presentation. And this is
coming from an ECONOMIST! Probably the most impactful part of Dr.McPheters
presentation (for me at least) was when he summarized the outlook for 2016. No
DOOM, NO GLOOM, NO BOOM! Not very exciting news but important to note
The next presenter was Morton
Hansen who co-authored the best- selling book “Great by Choice” with Jim
Collins. Some of the keener insights I learned from Morten’s presentation was
how successful companies (like Southwest Airlines, Intel etc.) put a lot of
focus on fanatic discipline, productive paranoia and empirical creativity.
Really solid advice and looking forward to reading his book which was
graciously provided to us.
The next presentation was
given by Seth Mattison on the “Future of Work” and connecting in a new world.
Seth’s presentation gave all of us a lot to think about regarding generational
communication particularly between baby boomers and millennials. One of the
challenges that Seth presented was “as the demand for transparency and
connectedness continues to increase from talent today, how will we need to
change, if at all”? He further stated that as company leaders we have to lead
from a position of influence and also decide how to show up. Lots to think
about in the future! The last presenter of the day was Nicholas Webb who talked
about digital innovation and creating memorable customer experiences.
Without a doubt my favorite
part of the 2016 BLC was the last day when we got the chance to hear from “The
Rookie” Jim Morris. Such an inspiring story of “following your dreams” no
matter what obstacles and challenges get in your way. On a personal note, I
must confess that(as a baseball nut) “The Rookie” is hands down my
favorite sports movie of all time. And I have to say that meeting Jim and
getting his autograph(before the presentation) ranks right up there as one of
the highlights of my professional career. Jim’s message was simple but
powerful. I loved the personal stories he told about his grandfather and
how he was taught to always remember who you are and to never stop
pursuing your hopes, dreams and goals. Other great advice Jim gave all of us
was to “surround yourself with good people” Good stuff that I preach that to my
employees and children on a regular basis
The last presenter (Dr. Kevin
Freiberg) had the unenviable task of following Jim Morris but he did a terrific
job of talking about the future of the AV industry and challenging all of us to
look at our companies and ask “what makes you unforgettable”? Kevin also
discussed the aspect about how to position our companies to be “hungry for
change” and that will involve a challenge to be either “opportunity led” or
“crisis driven” Kevin’s final message quoted the rules of 2015 integrator of
the Year (Yorktel) which include 1) Don’t be a vendor, be a partner 2) don’t
sell what’s needed now, help position your customer for future trends 3) evolve
with market trends but don’t dilute your core competency. Really good rules
that we need to consider at ISI.
All in all, I have to say
that the five days I devoted to attending the USAV and NSCA/BLC was time well
spent and a good investment on ISI’s part. I do believe that many of concepts
and strategies that were presented will prove to be invaluable in plotting the
course for ISI’s future. Looking forward to the even bigger and better BLC in