This week my management team and I were at the University of Memphis Fogelman Executive Center for over 2 1/2 days doing strategic planning. Since this was the first time we have done this type of meeting at ISI, I must say I had no idea what would happen. Meet for almost 3 days without a single PowerPoint presentation? Or flip chart? Not having every minute scheduled on an agenda? Not doing the traditional "year in review"session like we've done since 2004? Really?
Despite my concern over the drastic change in format, I must say I was very pleased with the results of our meeting. The PRO AV and video conferencing marketplace have changed dramatically in the past few years and all of us on the ISI management team understood that it is simply not "business as usual" any more. We have to change our business strategy at ISI to merely survive these days and hopefully build a plan for the the future. So after an intense few days, what did we come up with?
For one thing, all of us on the ISI management team acknowledged that the PRO/AV marketplace is not likely to experience much (if any) growth in 2015. And to make matters even more challenging, ISI would have to be hyper focused more on growing profitability rather than revenue. Not a novel concept but one that we had to acknowledge (more than ever before) would be a key to a successful year in 2015. One way to grow profitability is by being more EFFICIENT. And one way to be more efficient is by "pre-integrating" all of our systems (in the ISI Memphis headquarters build room) that are installed outside the state of Tennessee. We believe that pre-integration will reduce install time and return trips to remote sites, provide customers quicker access to systems and provide a better and more professional product.
Other operational efficiencies we plan on implementing at ISI in 2015 include automating our labor estimating process as well as re-configuring our office facilities in Nashville to meet the needs of our mobile workers. From a revenue efficiency standpoint, we also plan on expanding our service/maintenance sales to competitive accounts on a nationwide basis. Selling our most profitable product to more people just seems to make sense to all of us at ISI.
Without a doubt, the highlight of our meeting was when Coach Bill Courtney (star of the 2012 Academy Award winning documentary "Undefeated") spoke to us on Wednesday afternoon about a number of provocative issues such as personal and professional leadership, giving back to your community (by getting out of your comfort zone) and creating a legacy. Really great stuff that gave all of us on the ISI management team a lot of food for thought for 2015 and beyond.