USAV and NSCA Business Leadership Conference

This past week, I was fortunate to be able to attend two very impressive professional development conferences sponsored by the USAV Group and the National Systems Contractors (BLC). On day two of the USAV Conference, Chuck Wilson (President of NSCA) lead a group discussion/workshop about how to use metrics to accelerate performance as well as shifting the focus from hardware and software sales to more about creating a better ”customer “experience” One company that was cited for their commitment to changing the customer experience is Sonic Automotive  who have created a more high tech, pleasant way to purchase a used car.   

Another interesting presentation given by Dr. Leanne Buehler was on “Understanding Workplace Motivation” I must admit, as a veteran business owner, I was fascinated by the survey information  Leanne presented about what was important to top performers. At the top of the list? Trust in senior leaders followed by opportunities for development, recognition for work, ability to share ideas, clear expectations and workload. Last on the list? Compensation. That was pleasant surprise to me since I admit that I worry about that very issue at ISI on a daily basis.   

At day one of the NSCA/BLC we got a chance to hear Dr. Lee McPheters discuss the economic outlook for the construction industry as well as the US overall. Although some of the data Dr. McPheters presented was a bit depressing (GDP forecast 3.2% vs 2.4% actual) I must say I’ve never heard a more entertaining, funny presentation. And this is coming from an ECONOMIST! Probably the most impactful part of Dr.McPheters presentation (for me at least) was when he summarized the outlook for 2016. No DOOM, NO GLOOM, NO BOOM! Not very exciting news but important to note nonetheless.   

The next presenter was Morton Hansen who co-authored the best- selling book “Great by Choice” with Jim Collins. Some of the keener insights I learned from Morten’s presentation was how successful companies (like Southwest Airlines, Intel etc.) put a lot of focus on fanatic discipline, productive paranoia and empirical creativity. Really solid advice and looking forward to reading his book which was graciously provided to us.   

The next presentation was given by Seth Mattison on the “Future of Work” and connecting in a new world. Seth’s presentation gave all of us a lot to think about regarding generational communication particularly between baby boomers and millennials. One of the challenges that Seth presented was “as the demand for transparency and connectedness continues to increase from talent today, how will we need to change, if at all”? He further stated that as company leaders we have to lead from a position of influence and also decide how to show up. Lots to think about in the future! The last presenter of the day was Nicholas Webb who talked about digital innovation and creating memorable customer experiences.   

Without a doubt my favorite part of the 2016 BLC was the last day when we got the chance to hear from “The Rookie” Jim Morris. Such an inspiring story of “following your dreams” no matter what obstacles and challenges get in your way. On a personal note, I must confess that(as a baseball nut) “The Rookie” is hands down my favorite sports movie of all time. And I have to say that meeting Jim and getting his autograph(before the presentation) ranks right up there as one of the highlights of my professional career. Jim’s message was simple but powerful. I loved the personal stories he told about his grandfather and  how he was taught to always remember who you are and to never stop pursuing your hopes, dreams and goals. Other great advice Jim gave all of us was to “surround yourself with good people” Good stuff that I preach that to my employees and children on a regular basis   

The last presenter (Dr. Kevin Freiberg) had the unenviable task of following Jim Morris but he did a terrific job of talking about the future of the AV industry and challenging all of us to look at our companies and ask “what makes you unforgettable”? Kevin also discussed the aspect about how to position our companies to be “hungry for change” and that will involve a challenge to be either “opportunity led” or “crisis driven” Kevin’s final message quoted the rules of 2015 integrator of the Year (Yorktel) which include 1) Don’t be a vendor, be a partner 2) don’t sell what’s needed now, help position your customer for future trends 3) evolve with market trends but don’t dilute your core competency. Really good rules that we need to consider at ISI.   

All in all, I have to say that the five days I devoted to attending the USAV and NSCA/BLC was time well spent and a good investment on ISI’s part. I do believe that many of concepts and strategies that were presented will prove to be invaluable in plotting the course for ISI’s future. Looking forward to the even bigger and better BLC in 2017!  

Posted by Jay Myers at 4:40 PM