Beyond The Tech: Realistic New Year's Resolutions

New Year
(Image credit: Pixabay / Mohamed Hassan)

The New Year is just around the corner, and what a year it’s been for not just our industry but society as well. I for one am thankful – and looking to make 2022 the best year ever.

New Year’s resolutions date back more than 2,000 years to the time of the Roman Empire, so this tradition is nothing new. However, I truly feel that we are in need, as a society, for some humility, kindness, and love to take precedence in all our lives. This can easily transcend into the culture and business of the pro AV industry.

Let’s think about that. We have interactions with our co-workers, clients, and management. We communicate for a living, and on many different levels, we help others communicate with other people.

Client Considerations

During our various personal interactions, how well do we communicate with our own clients? I recently read a post on communication that discussed some different ways you listen when you are talking with someone. Are you listening so that you can give them a reply, or are you listening to them to learn something so you can give them a solution? I can tell you that I’ve been on both sides of that coin, especially when I was younger.

Here’s a quick example. Many years ago, I was new to a technology consulting firm. I was assigned a courthouse in the middle of the project, not because I was the right guy for the job, but because the AV guy could not stand talking to the architect because he was so long winded.

I put on my really listening hat. They weren’t kidding; I don’t think any call I took from him (and I took them all) was under 20 minutes. But I really listened. You know what? I learned a lot from him and did the job.

A year later, after that job was complete and I was back out on my own (story for another day), the architect was so impressed with working with me that he recommended me for his next courthouse project. It was more than $1 million of AV. When I bid on it, against my previous company and others, I got the job. Imagine that.

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How about a New Year’s resolution to really listen to what your clients are saying? Instead of just replying with your typical answer, take a minute to digest what they just said, thinking about their needs and wants, and answer with a relevant solution.

Workplace Interactions

Interacting with co-workers is often a challenge. While not all voice their opinions, all have them, and many are still on edge as we continue to deal with a worldwide pandemic. In these sensitive times, being aware of the feelings of your co-workers is an important and required skill.

Make a resolution to think about how you interact with your co-workers. When confronted with a conflict or if you feel personally attacked, you may have a habit of adding fuel to the fire and taking a defensive position with your words and/or actions. This resolution is an opportunity for you to develop self-control and personal growth. Let’s all resolve to take greater care before we say or do something. If it has no benefit to anyone but yourself, keep it to yourself.

While an immediate need for getting along with management would be to stay employed, there are other benefits. For example, if you decide to leave, it’s best not to burn any bridges. Plus, in our merry-go-round of employers and employees in this industry, you never know if you are going to end up back where you started.

While a plethora of resolutions come to mind, as I have worked for numerous managers and executives, one resolution stands out for me: Pick and choose your battles. This translates to balance, something I have been stressing for years. Avoid extremism; restraint and common sense should be the order of the day.

If you have a job, you will come into conflict with your superiors to do (or not do) or say (or not say) something. Think before you act, be it words or actions. Let’s all resolve this New Year to pick and choose our battles, and not be too quick to jump into something you can’t undo.

Best wishes to you and yours in the New Year, and good luck with your resolution(s)!

Douglas Kleeger
SCN Columnist

I am Doug Kleeger, CTS-D, DMC-E/S, XTP-E, KCD, the founder of AudioVisual Consulting Services. I got into this industry frankly, not by choice, but because of my love of music. My first experiences were an AM radio and hoping my favorite songs would come on the radio. There were three standouts: Yesterday (1965), the Hawaii Five-0 theme (1968), and A Boy Named Sue (1969). I was eight when my grandfather bought me my first radio from Lafayette (now defunct electronics store). I still remember perusing the pages of their catalog, looking at all the different types of equipment, putting together systems in my head. Who knew? I still do that today…can you imagine…more than 55 years later!