Do You Get It? by Christopher Maione

The phrase “Get It” has been adopted in the AV industry, so I will make an attempt to provide a definition in context.

Get It: To understand the matter or issues at hand as well as the situation and circumstances surrounding the matter or issue and to comprehend the pressures and expectations associated with the proper outcome, as perceived by all parties involved.

“Getting It” is not about basic or technical understanding of an issue. It’s not about just getting a particular task completed. It’s about completing the task with the proper outcome as perceived by all parties involved.

Here are some things to ask yourself to see if you are “getting it”:

AV Project Managers – are you following the direction of the consultant? Are you anticipating the needs of your client and making proactive efforts to stay ahead of their requests? The AV buck stops at you. The success of failure of a project is a direct result of your skills and your efforts, so make sure your clients know that you when it comes to making things right – because, you guessed it, you “get it”.

AV Engineers & Technicians — are you supporting your Project Managers and cooperating with their efforts? Are you giving them realistic timelines for the completion of your work? Make sure you provide attention to detail in all assembly, fabrication and installation activities. Execute testing and commissioning of AV systems with care, thoroughness and due diligence and point out any “issues” along the way. Be proactive and don’t present any problem without an associated solution.

AV Consultants —
are you an advocate to your client? Do you understand their needs and expectations? Are you conveying their needs and expectations to the design team and in your designs? A consultant that “gets it” listens to and advises the client, is an active participant with the project design team, and is supportive of the efforts of the AV systems integrator.

Manufacturer — do you understand the project schedule and are you making best efforts to get the product to your dealer when needed. Many times this means meeting unrealistic deadlines and jumping through hoops to get a product out in time to meet the schedule. It’s all part of the game. So simply telling a system integrator “it will ship in 4 weeks “when it is needed in their shop in two weeks, is just not going to cut it. (Get it?)

AV Business Owners — are you the type that is glued to your desk in the ivory tower of your office or are you out in front of clients and “in the field” with your project team? This does not just mean you go out to see clients or a project when the sh_t has hit the fan and the client is screaming; it means you are out there overseeing the activities of your business on a weekly basis so that you can build relationships with your clients. By getting out in front of the clients, attending project meetings and walking jobsites you will get a real feel for the progress of your projects and the pulse of your business. If you are not connected to the day-to-day operations of your firm, then it’s doubtful you are really “getting it” and understanding the needs of your clients, or the needs of your business. And face it; if you don’t “get it” it is doubtful your staff will ever “get it”.

Show me a business owner, consultant, project manager, engineer or technician with their head in the game, in front of the client and LISTENING to what they say, DOING what they need, and making proactive efforts to ensure the project goes smoothly and I’ll show you a person that “get’s it”.

Clients — deep breath for me here, because as the client, you are always right. Please try to understand that AV systems and the associated processes of design, engineering, procurement, assembly, installation, testing and commissioning take a reasonable amount of time to properly complete. Please also understand we have businesses to run, other projects, families, a life, and your best interests in mind when we balk at cutting over a project in four days which would normally take 2 weeks (particularly when you ask us at 3PM on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving).

“Getting it” applies to every person and team member that is part of the AV project and design process. “Getting it” is what makes the difference between getting it done and getting it done right.

Christopher Maione, CTS-D, is president of Christopher Maione Associates. He can be reached at

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