- THE MAGAZINE
Solutions for today’s vision of tomorrow are difficult at best, but certainly not impossible. To get a jump on these visions, you could read such books as “Future Shock” and “Mega Trends.” A better direction to take is to read the trade publications to determine which way the crowd is headed. I would certainly recommend this publication and its sister publications, National Floor Trends and Floor Covering Installer. Watch the news events, such as mergers and acquisitions and save and categorize articles and columns for future reference. Performing these tasks will allow you a glimpse of what’s coming.
There is no shortage of information; we are surrounded by it. This was very much in evidence at Surfaces 2000. There were racks and racks stacked with periodicals and brochures. This is the age of information, yet some still act as if we are in the dinosaurs’ age. Information is not power—it’s the use of information that kicks butt.
The question this article asks is this: Are you maximizing your know-how and how to know-how? How can you do this? How do you increase profitability and posture? Would you like to be able to ensure that your attitude is revved up everyday, ready to take on whatever comes along in the way of inspections?
You can do it all and have it all by teaming-up. Let’s say you and your newly acquired team of inspectors feel it is necessary to make the whole group more successful, in addition to growing each of your own organizations. This concept is not foreign to the numerous clubs that meet weekly to share leads from their fields.
This isn’t a fantasy; it’s a necessity. In this time of high-speed change, the stakes are nothing less than survival. You know the drill: Tougher demands by the mills for faster reporting of claims; competition from every angle, including those who have received training in every floor surface; retailer uncertainty; and a host of other unknowns. So, what do we do? We team up. I’m here to tell you that without strong bellwether type people from every facet of the industry, without high trust and true teamwork, you won’t be up to meeting the challenges of the inspection business of the future.
So how does one do this? It’s the same as asking what is the secret to success? The secret to success is that there is no secret! The good news is that you’ll be able to master these turbulent times and enjoy significant growth in your inspection business. The key is to team up, either in the form of a co-op or group of inspectors, to handle all types of claims. This is not a new business, but a group formed for the mutual benefit of every member.
You make the ultimate difference. If you can take the helm and blend explanation with inspiration within a group of your peers who have years of expertise in fields other than carpet, then you will be able to disprove the long-standing “expert” assumption that effectiveness can’t be taught. The financial gain is phenomenal.
How can you make the same type of gain? How do you go from “want to” to “can do.” Well, filling in the missing pieces of the puzzle of this transition takes leadership. Everyone can, and must, share the leadership roll. It’s the high cost of low trust in organizations that causes seizures. You must trust and rely on each other.
I’m telling you that building a group of inspectors will make your own company grow exponentially. However, you must be prepared to institute rules and mottoes to live by as you develop your inspection teamwork philosophy.
You have to tap into each other’s genius in order for each of you to profoundly connect with this idea: In order to help the group, you alone are responsible for your input to a problem. Choose your associates wisely. A Curriculum Vitae from each member is a good idea. Your group must be able to rely on each other’s views. Looking for someone to blame never solves problems. Every person in the group needs support and praise. Negative attitudes, petty politics and gossip are out. Trustworthy, cooperative people are in!
What I have found in working with the groups of inspectors that have teamed up is that they have built, and are sustaining, an atmosphere of trust and openness. This has fostered creative cooperation in reaching new levels of inspections. Members of the group are becoming more independent as they are dependent. It has reduced cynicism about other inspectors and has generally increased morale. I like the fact they are staying flexible, even measurably increasing their flexibility, in order to focus on even greater opportunities.
A team of inspectors allows each member to take advantage of the strengths and compensate for their own weakness, therefore staying more profitable. In this unprecedented era of high pressure, rapid change and constant uncertainty, teams are the ones that make it. One person inspired and improving individually is great. But, when a group becomes inspired, the commitment to helping becomes infectious.
Your goal in forming a group is to become less frustrated, less anxious, less “busy” and more effective as an inspector.