In a continuation of my “Focus” series, I want to spend some time discussing the most valuable aspect of your business. I’m talking about your staff, your people, the lifeblood of your business. In our industry, we spend so much time talking specifications, suppliers, bottom lines, etc., all while normally overlooking one of the only things that actually matters… your people!
You see, people will make or break a company. It really is that simple. Although we continually attempt to grant greater status to other aspects of our businesses, your business’ success, and by extension your personal success, is completely dependent upon your people. We’ve all seen and experienced this in our personal lives—you interview three different companies and although one may be slightly better or slightly cheaper then the others, most often you will select the company with the salesperson with whom you connected the best. It all comes down to the personal relationship and personal interaction you have with that company.
Let’s look at how this applies to us in our industry. If the success of your business hinges on you and your people, what does that mean for us in AV? Well, it certainly doesn’t mean that we should just go out and staff our companies with nice, flowery, people who can get along with everyone; don’t forget, we are a very technical industry and we must employ very skilled individuals. Which isn’t to say our skilled personnel can’t be some very nice people, I can personally attest that some of the nicest people I know work in our industry. It does mean that we must take into account a person’s individual skill sets to determine their best placement within your company. This becomes the key to focusing on your staff.
When you actually take the time to focus on your staff, you start to see where their strengths and weaknesses lie. Unfortunately, too often in our industry we tend to focus strictly on our staff’s technical skill sets while overlooking every other aspect they have. Once we measure their strengths, we will be able to address each individual staff members in their position to ensure they are in the best possible location. Only then will we be able to properly allocate our resources while focusing on advancing our staff members potential.
We’ve all had that employee who is extremely talented in one area of their position but severely lacking in other areas. Too often, we’ll leave this individual in this position due to their skills in that one area while actively overlooking areas where they are lacking. Now don’t get all excited and start sending me hate mail—we all have area that we lack in! I do, and I’m quite certain you do too. It’s in these areas where we have an opportunity to assess our personnel situations and find positions that are better suited for people. Most often when you take the time to focus on your staff, you will find that with a minor shift you will have happier employees and everyone will be more successful.
I’m of the opinion that we as an industry are missing an opportunity to better our people, our industry, and ourselves by really focusing on our people. We are, by extension, providing a disservice to our people and our customers by not taking advantage of every opportunity to better focus on our staff. By focusing on our staff, we are really focusing on our business because they aren’t mutually exclusive. Let’s continue to invest in our most important assets… our people!
Beyond the Technical
There are many ways that you can help your employees improve and grow, outside of CTS certifications or other technical training education. We’ve talked about assessing our personnel and ensuring they are in the best possible position. The natural progression from there is to ensure that we are training our people properly.
Many of our employees come to us with good skill sets and require very little beyond the traditional keep-up-to-date learning tract—it’s rare that we have the opportunity to mold an employee from scratch. Yet, even for those people who are well trained there is always an area in which they could learn more, myself included. This is where I believe our greatest opportunity lies—in our ability to offer our people the opportunity to increase their skills in other areas, especially where it concerns areas normally not addressed in our industry.
When was the last time you heard of someone in our industry getting training on their personal interaction skills. Trust me, it’s rare! Take, for example, trainings focused on time management. I know many people who would love to send some of their people to a course like that. There are some many areas where we have an opportunity to invest in our people— many that are outside the normal realm for our industry. It’s time we expand our horizons to truly focus on our staff!
Matt D. Scott is the president and founder of OMEGA Audio Video, in London, Ontario, Canada. A self-professed tech-head, Scott shares his opinions on social media, local radio, omegaaudiovideo.com, mattdscott.com, and through various publications.