Wednesday, November 19, 2008

How far are you prepared to go?

When looking for a little extra motivation in these trying times, sometimes the right movie and/or book can do the trick.

One film that always works for me is The Untouchables.

In one dramatic scene, Sean Connery (playing a gritty Chicago cop) and Kevin Costner (as Elliot Ness) are meeting in a Catholic church. They're debating how to address the Mafia's recent change in tactics, specifically its willingness to shed blood more liberally to achieve its criminal objectives. In other words, the Mafia had just changed the rules of the game, and the FBI was going to have to adapt to the new reality. Sound familiar? As the scene reaches its climax, Connery's character looks at Elliott Ness and asks, "How far are you prepared to go?"

As you know, the rules of the economic game have changed recently. My, how they've changed!

But if you're like me, you believe every problem has its solution. Now don't misunderstand; I'm not trying to sugarcoat your problems or mine. Indeed, every situation is different. As I've found in discussions with several NGA members, many glass shops are adjusting to their new economic realities by branching out into new segments, and doing quite well. Some are finding tougher sledding.

We here at the NGA are adapting our business model by exploring new market opportunities, improving our service and innovating like never before. For example, we recently announced a strategic alliance with Architectural Testing Inc. to extend our state-of-the-art training programs -- notably http://www.myglassclass.com/ -- to the retail window and door market.

One quality that all successful people share is the willingness to meet challenges head-on. Are you conveying that attitude to your staff? Or are you leaving them to wonder what your plan is...or even if you have a plan at all?

NGA members know it is better to prepare than repair. Whatever segment you serve, you understand that the cost of fixing a job done poorly is high. It can turn a profit into a loss in no time flat. The same lessons apply in our role as managers and leaders.

In short, now is the time for leaders to lead.

Looking for some added support and guidance?

Read John Maxwell's "The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player." Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel gave a copy to each member of his staff prior to the season as mandatory reading. I just finished it on my trip out to Vegas for GlassBuild America. Powerful stuff. Much like The Untouchables, it really gets your juices flowing to overcome obstacles.

One last shameless plug. (I know... I know...) Whatever you do, especially if you’re an auto glass retailer, get some added fuel for these challenging times by attending the 2009 NGA Auto Glass Conference and Executive Forum http://glass.org/events/at_ov.htm You'll find a world of great ideas and insights there – on leadership, strategy, technical excellence, you name it. Feb. 18-20 in Orlando.

I’ll even throw in the good weather!

—David Walker, Vice President of Association Services, National Glass Association

1 comment:

RJ Carr said...

John Maxwell has written some good books on leadership. I just completed the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. Good up the great work David!